Wednesday, July 8th 2020, 2:43 pm - Historical data suggests that this area has the potential for powerful tornadoes
The province of British Columbia sees less than one tornado per year, but is there be a secret tornado alley nestled in the center of the province? A look at historical data suggests that this region has the potential to be a hidden tornado hot spot.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s two F0 tornadoes were reported in the Lower Mainland, and in the early 2000s and F1 struck down in Cranbrook. But a few hundred kilometres north show that over a dozen tornadoes were reported since 1980.
While many of these tornadoes were relatively weak compared to the twisters that touch down in the Prairies, some reached F2 strength which has wind speeds between 181 to 253 km/h and can cause significant damage such as tearing roofs off of homes, flipping over mobile homes, and uprooting large trees.
Meteorologist Tyler Hamilton took a deeper look into the conditions that created the possibility for a tornado alley to form in B.C., and explains that specific weather patterns in late June and early July of 1990 were to blame.
A significant pattern of troughs formed off the coast of B.C. and a ridge of high pressure anchored over parts of eastern B.C. and Alberta, which allowed disturbances to push across flat regions of central British Columbia. These flat zones promoted instability and thunderstorms, which were capable of creating tornadoes.
On average there are about 62 tornadoes each year in Canada, and the peak season is in the summer months when warm, moist air travels north from the U.S. and clashes with cool air.
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Canada ranks as the country with the second most tornadoes each year (the United States experiences the most) and Saskatchewan is the province the typically sees the highest amount annually.