'It was surreal': Sask. residents witness province’s first tornado of 2022
Environment Canada has confirmed the first tornado in Saskatchewan touched down Tuesday night near Keeler, about 50 kilometres north of Moose Jaw.
Farmer Trent Shillington was seeding a field north of Caron when the twister touched down a few miles away.
“When you’re in the tractor, there’s not much you can do,” he said. “You gotta get to the edge of the field. But by the time that happened, the storm all of a sudden disappeared.
“So you phone home and make sure everyone is alright.”
His wife Allison was at home with their daughter.
“I texted Trent and said, ‘Boy is it sure starting to get windy,” she said. “He replied with a phone call right away saying, ‘Go downstairs, a tornado is coming.”
Allison said the tornado was only a few hundred yards away from their home.
“Then all of a sudden, ‘Whoosh.’ It was like I had taken big ear plugs and put them in my ears," she said. "I felt like it was slow-mo walking around the house and thought, ‘My word, we’re in the eye of the storm.”
Ji-Gabbookew Campeau and her daughter were driving near Chamberlain on their way to Edmonton when they saw the twister in the distance.
“It was kinda surreal,” she said. “But it was also concerning because we were going through some other storms and if there’s one tornado, will there be others?”
Environment Canada (EC) said the EF0 tornado touched down around 7 p.m. Tuesday evening. Tornadoes are rated based on the damage they perform and EC said there is one unconfirmed report of damage in the area.
CTV Meteorologist Bradlyn Oakes said tornadoes can sprout from any storm as long as the perfect conditions are met.
“What happened [Tuesday] night is we hit a low-pressure system moving through southern Saskatchewan. Behind that, we were having a whole line of thunderstorms, one of which turned this land spout tornado.”
While peak storm season is June through August, Oakes said tornadoes at this time of the year are not uncommon, with the earliest reported tornado by month in the province being the beginning of April in 1968.
“We typically see around 13 tornadoes but that can go way up to 30 or 40 in Saskatchewan or under 10,” said Oakes.
SGI manager of media relations Tyler McMurchy said there are ways to prepare yourself and your home before a twister appears near your property.
“Start by taking a look at your home and access its vulnerabilities,” he said. “Look at your roof for damage or age. Look for new shingles that are rated for high winds.
“You may want to procure the services of a building inspector or someone to provide you some professional guidance.”
McMurchy added scanning your yard for potential projectiles like patio furniture or rocks is important to securing the safety of your home during any storm. SGI said most insurance policies cover storm damage but it is important to know what your policy included.
Oakes reminds people to remain indoors during any storm that includes lightning, thunder or high winds as storm season begins to heat up through June and July.
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