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Sudden storm interrupts Alberta bike tour

Dark cloud appears around Madden, Alberta. Photos courtesy Doug Howard.
Dark cloud appears around Madden, Alberta. Photos courtesy Doug Howard.

Lisa Varano, staff writer

June 12, 2011 — Sudden storm forces cyclists to take shelter during final stretch of charity bike tour north of Calgary.

Storm halts cyclists
Storm halts cyclists

Over two days and about 180 km, they only saw scattered clouds on the prairie. Then a sudden storm stopped them in their tracks.

About 800 people were in the final stretch of an MS Bike Tour, heading back to Airdrie, Alberta, when lightning strikes, small funnel clouds, and strong wind stopped many of them, an organizer said.

Doug Howard said some cyclists took shelter at a community centre in Madden on Sunday afternoon. But they had to leave their bikes outside.

Other cyclists had already reached the finish line at the Airdrie rodeo grounds.

Pop-up thunderstorm
Pop-up thunderstorm

Rob Davis, a meteorologist at The Weather Network, said the Madden and Airdrie areas, north of Calgary, were not under a severe weather watch or warning at the time of the storm. He said it was a pop-up thunderstorm.

The MS Bike Tour raises money for research into Multiple Sclerosis.

Howard called The Weather Network's Stormline -- 1-800-463-WIND (9463) -- to report the severe storm.

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