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‘This is a tornado-prone part of the world’: Alberta sees busiest season in 2 decades

WATCH: It's been a very active tornado season in Alberta, with the most confirmed tornadoes the province has seen in 20 years. Margeaux Maron reports.

It’s been a busy summer season for Alberta-based meteorologists.

“We’ve recorded 21 tornadoes so far this year, which is the most we’ve had in a season since 1989,” said Kyle Fougère, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada.

READ MORE: Alberta ahead of average tornado count at 17 so far this year

Each year, the province sees an average of 15 confirmed twisters, but over the past decade, there have been significantly fewer, with Alberta averaging just seven per year.

Although there are several ongoing investigations, all of the 2019 storms have been categorized as EF0 to EF1.

READ MORE: Only halfway through ‘peak season,’ Alberta has had a year’s worth of tornadoes

Though they land on the lower side of the scale, new drone footage taken near Hanmore Lake shows the sheer power of lower-rated tornado.

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The twister last Wednesday snapped hundreds of trees, and tossed a recreational vehicle 19 meters, according to meteorologists with Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Tornado damage near Hanmore Lake, AB.
Tornado damage near Hanmore Lake, AB. Courtesy: Scott Thostenson
Tornado damage near Hanmore Lake, AB.
Tornado damage near Hanmore Lake, AB. Courtesy: Scott Thostenson
Tornado damage near Hanmore Lake, AB.
Tornado damage near Hanmore Lake, AB. Courtesy: Scott Thostenson
Tornado damage near Hanmore Lake, AB.
Tornado damage near Hanmore Lake, AB. Courtesy: Scott Thostenson

“We’ve seen a lot of devastation in the campground areas this year,” said Fougère.

READ MORE: Cabin owners ‘shocked’ by damage after 2 tornadoes hit north-central Alberta

Large trees falling near tents and RVs have been the main concern. Fougère hopes those with camping plans this summer take note of his safety tips.

Having an emergency plan, like knowing to exit an RV and find sturdier shelter, is critical, according to Fougère.

“Try to get to the nearest sound structure and find an interior room in that building,” said Fougère.

Fleeing to a car is also not the safest bet.

“If they find themselves in a situation where the tornado is very close to them, they should just get out, park the car and find a low-laying area such as a ditch,” said Fougère.

After investigating the Meadow Lake, Sask., storm in late June, Fougère says quick thinking by campers who fled into nearby cooking shelters saved lives.

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“The fact that no one was killed is remarkable,” said Fougère.

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READ MORE: Heat warnings, severe thunderstorm watches, warnings in place across Alberta

There were so many trees that were down on campers and next to tents,” the meteorologist continued. “And really just total destruction in the treed area in that campground.”

And though it may be tempting to turn off the phone and enjoy the great outdoors, having access to emergency alerts could save lives.

“It’s important when your’re travelling to know what to do if a tornado were to occur or if Environment and Climate Change Canada were to issue a warning,” said Fougère.

Watch below: A tornado warning was in place in Red Deer Wednesday night. Kent Morrison has more on the wild weather.

Wild weather rolls through central Alberta
Wild weather rolls through central Alberta