Alberta sees its first tornado of the season
Saturday, June 14, 2014, 10:07 AM - Alberta had its first confirmed tornado of the year Friday night, 15 km west-northwest of the town of Gleichen.
It began as one of two funnel clouds observed in that area, before touching down to become a tornado.
There was no damage reported, and a summary from Environment Canada did not give it a rating on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. Rather, the agency considered it a landspout tornado, "generated by weak rotation under rapidly growing clouds or weak thunderstorms."
"Land spout tornadoes do not usually cause significant damage but can still be dangerous," Environment Canada says. "They can be strong enough to topple trees, damage roofs or toss debris short distances."
Any thunderstorm is capable of producing a tornado, if conditions are right. Presently, there is a risk of non-severe thunderstorms across the Prairies for Saturday.
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Canada is the second most tornado-prone nation in the world, after the United States. The Prairie provinces see an average of 43 tornadoes a year, in a season whose peak is in June and August according to Environment Canada.
Three of Canada's four deadliest twisters have been in the Prairie provinces (Two in Alberta and one in Saskatchewan). As well, the region also saw Canada's most powerful recorded tornado, an F5 that touched down in Elie, Man., in 2007, fortunately causing no injuries or fatalities.
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