Nova Scotia breaks 21-year tornado drought with strongest twister in 41 years

The town of Stewiacke saw Nova Scotia's first confirmed tornado in more than two decades.

A severe thunderstorm on June 30 spawned Nova Scotia’s first confirmed tornado in nearly 22 years, and the province’s strongest tornado in more than four decades.

That's the word from the Northern Tornadoes Project, which confirmed EF-1 damage to a barn located on a farm in Stewiacke, a town in central Nova Scotia.

Stewiacke NS Tornado Map June 30 2021

Experts arrived at their conclusion using drone footage from the public and photographs from a ground survey conducted by Environment and Climate Change Canada the day after the storm.

The damage path revealed that the tornado stayed on the ground for about 600 m and grew about 50 m wide at its largest extent. Damage to the barn suggests that the tornado’s maximum winds reached 155 km/h, making it an EF-1 on the Enhanced Fujita (EF) Scale.

The tornado developed along the leading edge of a line of storms that moved through central Nova Scotia. The team also found that the same storm produced a microburst nearby, packing estimated winds of 115 km/h.

This was the first confirmed tornado to touch down in Nova Scotia since 1999, according to the Northern Tornadoes Project. The group says that the last known tornado to touch down in the province hit Pugwash on August 18, 1999, and that this is Nova Scotia's strongest tornado on record since at least 1980.

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Canada Tornadoes As of July 14 2021

Tornadoes are rare in Atlantic Canada, with the entire region averaging about one tornado per year. This is the region’s first confirmed tornado of 2021. We’ve seen 22 confirmed tornadoes across the country so far this year.

Below are some images captured by a drone flying over the destroyed barn, courtesy of Jeff McCurdy.

Nova Scotia Tornado Damage June 30 2021 COURTESY JEFF MCCURDYStewiacke NS Tornado Barn Damage COURTESY JEFF MCCURDY

Thumbnail courtesy of Jeff McCurdy