Tornado touchdown confirmed southwest of Calgary
Published Wednesday, July 22, 2015 7:38AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 22, 2015 9:33PM EDT
Environment Canada has confirmed a tornado touched down not far from Calgary on Wednesday afternoon.
The touchdown happened 10 kilometres north of the village of Priddis, according to a statement from the federal weather agency.
Priddis is approximately 40 kilometres by road southwest of downtown Calgary.
Funnel clouds were also reported near the towns of Cochrane and Strathmore, according to the Environment Canada statement.
At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Environment Canada’s Bill McMurtry said video evidence appears to show a “brief touchdown” in an area southwest of Calgary.
McMurtry also said there were unconfirmed reports of wind damage in Siksika Nation, an aboriginal community southeast of Calgary.
McMurtry said tornadoes are not rare in the Calgary area and that eight confirmed or probable tornadoes have struck within city limits between 1970 and 2009.
Tom Sampson, Chief of Calgary’s Emergency Management Agency, told reporters there were reports of “at least a couple (of) funnel clouds in the Calgary area.”
Sampson thanked Environment Canada for the speed with which they warned the public, but chided “a number of buildings” for attempting to evacuate, potentially putting people at risk.
“If you’re in the building, you’re protected by the building shell,” he said. “The majority of people killed in tornadoes are killed by flying debris.”
Sampson encouraged Albertans to download the Alberta Emergency Alerts application, which sends severe weather warnings directly to smartphones.
Sampson said there were no reports of major damage, adding it was a “close call.”
Wednesday’s tornado came a day after wild weather brought large hail to central Alberta, causing widespread damage.
The cities of Red Deer and Lacombe were hit suddenly Tuesday evening with storms, as hail the size of golf balls dented cars and broke windows. No injuries were reported.
CTV National News Alberta Bureau Chief Janet Dirks snapped a photo of a funnel cloud Wednesday near the local CTV station, which is located in the southwest of the city.
With files from CTV Calgary