A tornado struck Mountain View County near Didsbury, Alta., Saturday afternoon on Canada Day, damaging several homes.
The Didsbury RCMP issued a release at 2:33 p.m. specifically about a large tornado that occurred on Highways 2 and 581. He said that the twister was one to two kilometers wide.
Saturday night, the Mounties said 14 homes were affected by the tornado. Five of these were destroyed.
Emergency responders were in affected areas throughout the day. A woman was trapped in her basement when the tornado struck, but RCMP said she was rescued and suffered only minor injuries.
No other person was reported injured. However, 25 cows and 20 chickens were killed, and one horse needed to be euthanized.
The Canada Day tornado near Didsbury, Alta. caused significant damage to several properties in the area. (Darren Wright)
‘Quick and Furious’
Katherine Littlechild was buying fireworks for Canada Day at a gas station in Carstairs when she saw the tornado come down.
“The sky turned completely black,” she said. “Originally it was really small, then it came out of the funnel.
“And when it came out, everything was flying towards us. So basically there was dust and dirt and bits of asphalt flying towards us.”
Melissa Boucher manages the Little Blue Camper Campground near Didsbury.
She was at a friend’s house in Didsbury when the storm hit.
“It was too close for comfort,” she said. “I got an alert on my phone and usually what we do is… drive around and tell everyone (at the campground) to stay inside and if they’re in a tent, outside buildings Ask to be taken to one of the
“There wasn’t even time for it this time. Fist-sized hail fell and I looked outside and saw funnel clouds.
“It was very fast,” she continued, “and very terrifying.”
A tornado was seen on the ground near Carstairs, Alberta at 2:10pm on Saturday July 1 (Photo Courtesy: Twitter@melnyk_photos/Matt Melnyk)
Boucher said the tornado touched down south of town, where there are some homes and farms, and expected no one to be injured.
“I would say there’s a lot of cut vegetation in Didsbury at the moment,” she said. “When I walked home, leaves were floating in the street, it was raining tons and tons, and now, 15 minutes later, it’s still clear and blue.”
Boucher said the worst part about the sudden summer storm was the hailstorm that resulted in damage to several vehicles.
Justin Duncalf lives in the area, and he said the twister was unlike any creature he had ever seen before.
“Maybe, you know, you see a tornado or something. I’ve seen that, but no, it’s like in a movie or something. It was pretty crazy,” Duncalf said.
Campground manager Melissa Boucher said “fist-sized” hail fell in Didsbury on Saturday afternoon (Photo: Melissa Boucher)
However that part of central Alberta receives tornado warnings every summer. Boucher said, “This is the first time I have seen a tornado in person.
“It was – it was very scary.”
At 2:23 p.m., Environment Canada updated to say that a tornado “was located southeast of Didsbury moving at 30 km/h.”
A little earlier Saturday, Environment Canada posted a tornado Warning To Mountain View Co. communities including Carstairs, Didsbury, Olds and Sterlingville at 1:50 p.m.
It added, “Meteorologists are tracking the strong storm that is producing the tornadoes.” “Damaging winds, large hail and locally intense rainfall are also possible.
“This is a dangerous and potentially life-threatening condition.”
As of 4 p.m., Environment Canada ended severe storm warnings and tornado warnings for the area.
A tornado struck near Didsbury, Alta., on Canada Day, causing damage to many properties and homes in the area. (Darren Wright)
Environment Canada spokesperson Terry Lang told CTV News in an interview that “It looks like it was on the ground for at least 30 minutes.
“After that it was over,” she said. “Approached the Carstairs, crossed the highway and drove away from the storm.
“It’s actually still on its own, but it hasn’t spawned any more tornadoes,” he said.
Lang said June’s long daylight hours create conditions that allow storms to strengthen.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted about the tornado early Saturday night, and expressed his concern for people who may have been hurt or property damaged.
Didsbury is a town of a little over 5,000 people located 82 km north of Calgary.
With files from Brittany Ekelund, Mark Villani, Keith McDonald and Alessia Fieldberg