Tor­nado sight­ing prompts alert north­east of Cal­gary

Calgary Herald - - CITY + REGION - STEPHANIE BABYCH sbabych@postmedia.com Twit­ter: @Baby­ch­stephanie

A tor­nado was spot­ted near Beiseker on Sun­day af­ter­noon, prompt­ing a short tor­nado alert.

Around 4:20 p.m., a tor­nado was ob­served 15 kilo­me­tres south­east of Beiseker, which is a lit­tle more than 70 kilo­me­tres north­east of Cal­gary, and a warn­ing was is­sued by En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change Canada.

Cal­gary and area were un­der a se­vere thun­der­storm watch at the time, as well.

En­vi­ron­ment Canada said on­line in a weather sum­mary that it re­ceived mul­ti­ple reports, pho­tos and videos of the tor­nado, in­clud­ing a small de­bris cloud seen at its base. By 6:30 p.m., it still hadn’t re­ceived reports of dam­age. The tor­nado was given a pre­lim­i­nary rat­ing of the low­est level of in­ten­sity.

The emer­gency alert was is­sued for Wheat­land County and Rocky View County, where wind warn­ings were also in ef­fect.

Within min­utes, peo­ple in the area posted pho­tos of fun­nel clouds on so­cial me­dia. Al­berta storm chasers were also quick to share pic­tures, some of whom had been in the area as the first large storm of the sea­son swept across the south­ern part of the prov­ince. Video of a fun­nel cloud that touched down showed the tor­nado was largely sweep­ing across empty fields.

Storm watch­ers had al­ready been given a thun­der-and-light­ning show early Sun­day morn­ing, when a wild weather sys­tem moved over Cal­gary just af­ter 3 a.m.

As the rain came down late Sun­day af­ter­noon, Global weather ex­pert Paul Dun­phy noted his rain gauge had col­lected 11 mm of rain by 5:30 p.m. But on the plus side, he joked on Twit­ter, “At least my lawn is green.”

Much of the prov­ince re­mained un­der se­vere wind warn­ings and se­vere thun­der­storm watches Sun­day night, ac­cord­ing to En­vi­ron­ment Canada.

Be­fore last year’s ab­nor­mally high num­ber of tor­na­does, Al­berta’s 30-year av­er­age was 12 tor­na­does per year.

Tor­nado warn­ings are is­sued when im­mi­nent or oc­cur­ring thun­der­storms are likely to pro­duce or are pro­duc­ing tor­na­does.

BREN­DAN MILLER

Dark clouds hang over fields west of Beiseker af­ter the Al­berta Emer­gency Alert is­sued a tor­nado warn­ing Sun­day af­ter­noon.

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