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'A powerful, photogenic storm': More than 20 tornado warnings issued during stormy Saskatchewan night


Saskatchewan’s skies lived up to its moniker Thursday night, creating some picturesque storm clouds. Amateur and professional storm chasers flocked to social media showing their view of an active weather event.

However, not all was so beautiful. Manitoba storm chaser Jordan Carruthers followed one cell from Indian Head past the Manitoba border.

“It was a powerful, photogenic storm and a very exciting chase,” he said. “But for the people in the path, it was definitely a dangerous storm and absolutely had the potential to produce a tornado at any moment.”

Twenty-two tornado warnings were issued across central and southern Saskatchewan by Environment Canada on Thursday afternoon and evening, on top of multiple severe thunderstorm warnings.

Over 200 severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings were combined between Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

Warnings stretched from southwest Saskatchewan to the Manitoba border from around 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Heavy rain, large hail and strong wind gusts were all possible in severe warned storms.

Residents in the central-east part of the province were hit particularly hard by the storm. Yorkton received heavy rains, enough to flood some city streets, as well as up to golf-ball-sized hail.

Churchbridge was hit hard by the rain as well Thursday, getting 46 millimetres along with some damaged and downed trees.

“It was the perfect conditions for super cells,” said CTV Regina Meteorologist Bradlyn Oakes. “They had the energy; the potential in the atmosphere was there for these to develop and they all lit up at the same time.”

Environment Canada meteorologist Terri Lang said as of Friday morning they had one confirmed tornado touchdown near Morse, Sask. around 5:38 p.m. on Thursday.

Lang added that Thursday could be considered a typical stormy afternoon and evening in June for Saskatchewan, but said the severity may have seemed worse for people because the past two years have been quiet on the storm front due to droughts. 

Oakes said at one point, there were three different tornado-warned storms leading to a large area of the province being under tornado warnings at the same time.

“Then there was a large amount of severe thunderstorm-warned storms that were not producing tornadoes but were producing hazardous conditions,” she said.

Carruthers noted that although super cell storms can create some perfect images to go viral on social media, it is important to be aware of how a storm is acting and always listen to weather alerts.

“Take the warning seriously,” he said. “I know there’s a lot of times where warnings get issued and nothing happens. But if you get coherent like that and something does happen, it won’t be a good situation.”

Oakes said that with the ‘la nina’ conditions this summer creating more moisture in the air, any time the weather becomes warmer and more humid, there could be the potential for more weather events similar to Thursday’s.

More Saskatchewan residents were able to capture some pictures of the stormy weather Thursday and post them on social media. Top Stories

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