Alberta ahead of average tornado count at 17 so far this year

The province’s average over the past 30 years has been 12 tornadoes per year

A supercell is seen over an area east of Calgary in a July 13, 2019, handout photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Chris Kiernan)

Alberta storm chaser Chris Kiernan has hardly had a moment’s rest since the start of the tornado season last month.

“This season has been quite more active,” said Kiernan, who is based out of Beaumont, Alta., about 30 kilometres south of Edmonton.

“In the last two weeks, I have been out for the majority of the days and I have landed some pretty good storms.”

Kiernan said there are usually a lot of “bust days” with no storm activity in a target area, but so far that’s happened just a single time this year.

“To have it only once is something for me,” he said. “Usually, there is a 40-per-cent bust rate.”

There have been 17 probable or confirmed tornadoes in the province so far, said Kyle Fougere, meteorologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada. That number surpasses Alberta’s 30-year average of 12.

The agency reported earlier this week that there had been 18 tornadoes, but Fougere said Tuesday one of those had been downgraded.

“When we first get reports of a tornado, we’ll consider them a possible report and then we’ll either upgrade them to a probable tornado or even a confirmed tornado.”

The highest number of tornadoes in Alberta in the last 35 years has been 26 in 1988, Fourgere said.

Overall on the Prairies, there have been 34 twisters this year, he said, with several weeks left in the tornado season.

There have been 13 in Saskatchewan, which has an average of 18 a year. Manitoba, with an average of 10, has had four.

Alberta has been the hardest hit because of wet weather since mid-June, Fougere said.

“When you have a trough of low pressure, you have colder air aloft and you tend to have very showery precipitation with a lot of thunderstorms,” he said. “Because we have had so many days with this thunderstorm activity, we’ve ended up with more tornadoes.”

A high-pressure system with more summerlike temperatures has moved through the area, but more tornadoes could still be on the way, Fougere predicted.

“It’s certainly like we will see more,” he said. “We definitely have that pattern on the horizon.”

RELATED: Summer temperatures will bounce between warm and cool for central Alberta

Environment and Climate Change Canada rated a tornado that hit the southern Alberta community of Carmangay last week as an EF1, Fougere said, but it could be upgraded.

A tornado is rated EF1 when it packs winds of 138 to 177 km/h and causes moderate damage. The highest rating is EF5.

“We are still investigating some of these tornadoes. A lot of times we do get information that comes in later and we do change some of the ratings.”

Daniela Germano, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Sylvan Lake residents asked for input on IDP final draft

An open house was held for the Sylvan Lake IDP Nov. 20 at the Senior’s Centre

Small farms would not need work place insurance under proposed bill

Bill 26, Farm Freedom and Safety Act, was introduced by Minister Devin Dreeshen Wednesday

Chinook’s Edge and RDCRS school boards facing upwards of $2 million shortfall

Insurance increases and funding cuts have caused shortfalls for local school boards

Giving Tree back in Sylvan Lake for its ninth year

The Friends of Bethany volunteers hung the tags on the Giving Tree in Shopper’s Drug Mart, Nov. 19

Sylvan Lake students attend youth summit on conservation

Four HJ Cody students attended the Canadian Rockies Youth Summit in Jasper, Nov. 15-17

Fashion Fridays: Holiday outfits on a budget

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Edmonton youth faces 17 charges after allegedly ramming police car

Wetaskiwin RCMP Investigate Break & Enter, Theft of Vehicle, along with traffic, property offences

Alberta MLAs reject bill for health workers who refuse service based on moral beliefs

Bill would have meant workers could not be sued for refusing to provide services like abortions

Study finds microplastics in all remote Arctic beluga whales tested

Lead author Rhiannon Moore says she wasn’t expecting to see so many microplastics so far north

RCMP find burned out vehicles near Pigeon Lake

Wetaskiwin RCMP Recovered Numerous Stolen Vehicles in Pigeon Lake Area

Millet gas station robbed, worker bear sprayed

Wetaskiwin RCMP Investigate Armed Robbery, Seek information and ID Suspect

Environmental group’s lawsuit seeks to quash ‘anti-Alberta’ inquiry

UCP launched inquiry into where Canadian environmental charities get their funding

Federal laws at heart of West’s anger up for debate, as Liberals begin outreach

Vancouver mayor to Trudeau’s western critics: ‘Get over yourselves’

Snowboard pioneer Jake Burton Carpenter dies at 65

He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011

Most Read