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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Lacombe partners with Vesta to support community initiatives

Mayor Creasey yesterday a $20,000 contribution from Vern Crone, production manager for Vesta Energy

Cody Dennis Memorial Game returns to Blackfalds for 16th year

Memorial game raises funds for Blackfalds Minor Hockey

Lacombe’s Cow Patti Theatre, LPAC team up for youth production of ‘Much More Munsch’

Youth ages 8-17 have been rehearsing original play since November

PHOTOS: Lacombe’s Nowco Home Hardware donates to Safe Harbour Society

Two large loads of warm clothing, mitts and McDonald’s gift cards donated

Lacombe County, Summer Village of Gull Lake sign Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework

Agreement specifies what and how services are funded and delivered

VIDEO: Trudeau insists Iran respect families’ wishes when it comes to burials

All 176 people on board the Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 were killed

Canada prepares as WHO decides whether to declare global coronavirus emergency

The city of Wuhan, China, has shut down outbound flights and trains

Survey finds support among Canadians for broader assisted-dying law

The survey was conducted Jan. 17 to 21 among 1,552 Canadians eligible to vote

New nasal spray launched in Canada to combat hypoglycemic shock in diabetics

Baqsimi is a nasal spray contains three milligrams of glucagon

Canadian public health agencies ramping up preparations in response to new virus

Health officials have said there are no confirmed cases of the emerging coronavirus in Canada

‘Naughty boy’: Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77

The comedian has been suffering from a rare form of dementia

Alberta premier wants federal government to do more about opioid imports

Jason Kenney says Canada should find ways to cut down on drugs being smuggled into the country

Alberta Energy Regulator laying off staff, restructures, deals with budget cuts

Gordon Lambert, interim CEO, says the changes are part of a restructuring

Most Read