Chase Date: July 1, 2016
Braydon Morisseau, Beth Allan, Chris Ratzlaff, Ronnie Rabena
Miles Logged: 117
States Chased: Alberta
Tornadoes Witnessed: 1
First Canadian Chase
Severe Risks: SPC Outlooks
What a surprise – I landed in Calgary, Alberta from San Francisco about 6 pm. I had plans to meet up with Chris Ratzlaff and Beth Allan in Airdrie for dinner. After clearing customs, gathering my things and getting my rental car, I was off to have dinner. Dinner(I had poutine!) was to celebrate Canada day and me being in Canada.
We knew storms were possible, so we kept our eyes glued to radar. A storm started to develop off the mountains just to our north near Sundre. We decided to head out after it. I never turn down a storm chase, especially in a different country.
Storm Chasing in Canada
I headed north on Alberta highway 2 then west through Didsbury on AB-582. I ended up getting west of Didsbury before stopping and realizing the storm was moving faster than I thought. It was also coming at me, so I stopped and setup.
The structure was quite pretty and a brief tornado seemingly touched down. It was by far the slowest tornado I’ve ever seen, but Environment Canada confirmed an EF-0. I’m still not sure I’d call that a tornado, but I guess there was some damage.
I followed the storm to the southeast, eventually crossing AB-2 again and running into Chris, Braydon and Ronnie. It was good to meet up with some Canadian chasers under a storm! And what a storm, with a great sculpted mesocyclone structure.
I followed things further east of AB-2 where eventually I broke off the chase. It was dark and I had a hotel in Edmonton, so I needed to drive up there. It had been a long day of travel that started the morning in San Francisco.