Andrea Stockton, staff writer
July 15, 2011 — Violent storms fired up across the Prairies on Wednesday and a weak tornado touchdown was confirmed in Calgary.
Strong storms popped up across southern Alberta and Saskatchewan Wednesday afternoon, prompting a handful of watches and warnings.
In Saskatchewan, a line of severe storms produced hail up to two inches in diameter and funnel clouds in the Swift Current area. In Alberta, upsloping off the Rocky Mountains caused storms to fire up along the foothills.
A small cell packed quite the punch as it rolled through an area near Calgary. Residents reported heavy downpours and hail and the radar also indicated some rotation with the storm.
After receiving several photos, video and eyewitness reports of funnel clouds near the city, Environment Canada confirmed that an F0 tornado touched down briefly in the southwestern part of Calgary.
Officials say about 12 buildings over a one block area were affected. Some streets were flooded and roofs were damaged with wind gusts between 80 and 110 km/h.
Severe thunderstorms were making noise across the Prairies on Tuesday night as well.
“These were very slow moving storms,” says Rob Davis, another meteorologist at The Weather Network. “That means several areas were drenched with lots of rain.”
Heavy rain, large hail and frequent lightning were reported in parts of southern Alberta. “And in central Saskatchewan, the potential for tornadoes was there,” says Davis.
Environment Canada issued a tornado warning for areas northeast of Rosetown and reports of funnel clouds were received near Biggar and Delisle. Callers to The Weather Network Stormline say the damage is significant.
“I'm quite sure there was a tornado, damage everywhere, 100-year-old trees are down and I've never seen rain like that in my life,” said a Delisle resident.
Another viewer from Vanscoy, Saskatchewan experienced severe downpours and intense flooding. “Basement is full of water, it was just horrible,” said Diane.
Extreme rainfall amounts were recorded south of Saskatoon. Dinsmore saw between 119 and 172 mm, while Outlook reported closer to 90 mm.
For a closer look at the weather in your area, head to the Canadian Cities Index. You can also tune into The Weather Network on TV for up-to-date coverage on severe weather.