Recalling Canada's second-deadliest tornado, killing 27 in Edmonton

On this day in weather history, a tornado hit Edmonton, Alta.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


On Friday, July 31, 1987, at 2:55 p.m., an F4 tornado hit eastern areas of Edmonton, Alta. The tornado was on the ground for more than an hour, with winds reaching 418 km/h. The twister travelled for 30.8 km and reached 1.3 km in width.

The tornado, which is known as Black Friday in Edmonton, killed 27 people, injured 300, and destroyed more than 300 homes. It caused more than C$332 million worth of damages. It's the second-deadliest tornado in Canadian history.

The Edmonton tornado was one of seven that day. Early that day, Environment Canada recognized the high likelihood of unusually severe thunderstorms. They immediately responded as a tornado touchdown in Leduc County, an area adjacent to Edmonton's southern border.

At 1:40 p.m., a severe weather watch was issued for Edmonton and surrounding areas. At 2:45 p.m., the watch was increased to a severe weather warning.

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At 2:52 p.m., the emergency tone was activated over Weatheradio Canada. At 3:30 p.m., the Edmonton tornado reached peak intensity, killing 12 in Refinery Row, a heavy industrial area.

Edmonton, Alberta - TWN Archives

Edmonton, Alta. Courtesy of TWN

As a result of the tornado, the Emergency Public Warning System was replaced with Alberta Emergency Alert. The new system breaks into both private and public broadcasts on radio and television systems.

To learn more about the Edmonton tornado of 1987, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features unique and informative stories from host Chris Mei.

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