tornado saanich

Canada just had its first tornado of 2020 in a place that rarely sees them

So far this year, there has been the looming threat of a third World War, fatal plane crashes in Iraq and Pakistan, bushfires that ravaged Australia, a global pandemic, a subsequent economic recession and murder hornets, among other freakishly terrible phenomena — so an extremely rare B.C. tornado is hardly anything shocking at this point.

Canada sees approximately 62 verified tornadoes per year (80-100 if unconfirmed accounts are included), most of them in Southern Ontario and the Prairie provinces.

Only a handful have ever been recorded in B.C. since 1980 at a rate of around 0.6 per year, which is significantly lower than Alberta (15.4), Saskatchewan (18), Manitoba (9.6), Ontario (12.5), Quebec (4.7) and Atlantic Canada (1.2). 

And, none have ever officially been confirmed on Vancouver Island. 

So when a twister touched down in the island community of Saanich, B.C. on Thursday, locals were more than a little taken aback.

The funnel was documented darkening skies and heaving items like trampolines around neighbourhoods just north of Victoria, appearing just like one would imagine a tornado to look, like a column of beige sand stretching from sky to earth.

Environment Canada said that the event was likely an EF-0 land spout tornado, which can bring winds of 90-130 km/h — strong enough to rip branches off of trees and tear shingles from roofs.

This weather event in particular was quite weak and didn't last very long, but it did see estimated wind speeds of up to 137 km/h, which is very unusual for the region.

Residents in the area have so far cited some damage to fences and items left outdoors (the trampoline is a writeoff), but it seems that no major destruction was sustained.

But with this cursed year not even half over yet, who knows what havoc is yet to come.

Lead photo by

Keith Harding

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