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Alberta tornado count for 2019 now at 22 with 2 twisters upgraded in severity

A funnel cloud was spotted in Crossfield on Sunday, July 14, 2019.
A funnel cloud was spotted in Crossfield on Sunday, July 14, 2019. Courtesy: Kevin Good

There have been 22 probable or confirmed tornadoes in the province so far this year, far surpassing Alberta’s 30-year average of 12 annually.

Environment and Climate Change Canada said after on-site damage surveys were carried out by Western University’s Northern Tornadoes Project, the rating of two tornadoes have been upgraded to EF2 from their preliminary ratings of EF1.

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

The two upgraded tornadoes happened on July 18 near Carmangay, north of Lethbridge, and on July 24 near Hanmore Lake, located about 130 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.

The twister about 17 kilometres east of Carmangay destroyed a barn, while the one at Hanmore Lake downed and snapped trees and power poles, while destroying a camper trailer and significantly damaging a cabin.

WATCH BELOW: Cleanup underway after tornado touches down near Hanmore Lake

Cleanup underway after tornado touches down near Hanmore Lake
Cleanup underway after tornado touches down near Hanmore Lake
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As of Friday, There have been 13 in Saskatchewan (four probable, nine confirmed) which has an average of 18 a year. Manitoba, with an average of 10, has had four twisters.

The highest number of tornadoes in Alberta in the last 35 years has been 26 in 1988.

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

Dan Kulak, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said after-the-fact data from the Western University team has helped the government agency confirm tornadoes, which has contributed to this summer’s numbers.

Kulak said while there is a fascination with tornadoes, they aren’t nearly as deadly as other aspects of weather, such as high heat and frigid cold.

And when it comes to sudden, severe weather, he said lightning strikes — even from storms that don’t warrant watches or warnings — kill more people in Canada than other severe weather events combined.

As for property damage, Kulak said rain, hail and flooding are the most destructive.

An average of one person a year is killed by a tornado in Canada, but Kulak said in reality one person doesn’t die every year.

Instead, the big events such as the 1987 Edmonton tornado that killed 27 people and injured hundreds more, and the 2000 Pine Lake tornado that killed 12 people in central Alberta, props up the average.

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Below is a summary from Environment Canada of the date, location, approximate time and preliminary rating of each reported tornado in Alberta so far this summer:

  1. April 24: 7 kilometres north of Peers at 12:40 p.m. — EF0
  2. June 13: 15 kilometres southwest of Strathmore at 5:28 a.m. — EF0
  3. June 14: 15 kilometres southwest of Medicine Hat at 16:00 p.m. — EF0
  4. June 23: 5 kilometres north of Fort Macleod at 12:45 p.m. — EF0
  5. June 25 2 kilometres south of Sexsmith at 12:35 p.m. — EF0
  6. June 26: 5 kilometres north of Millet at 2:30 a.m. — EF0
  7. June 28: Newbrook at 14:45 p.m. — EF0
  8. June 28: 23 kilometres south of Hylo at 4:00 p.m. — EF0
  9. June 28: 20 kilometres east of Lac la Biche at 5:26 p.m. — EF0
  10. June 28: Siebert Lake at 5:40 p.m. — EF1
  11. June 28: 6 kilometres northwest of Wolf Lake at 6:30 p.m. — EF1
  12. June 28: 15 kilometres southwest of Smith at 6:45 p.m. — EF0
  13. June 28: Cold Lake at 8:26 p.m. — EF0
  14. June 29: 20 kilometres southwest of Grovedale at 7:30 p.m. — EF0
  15. July 7: 18 kilometres west of Lomond at 5:57 p.m. — EF0
  16. July 8: 63 kilometres northeast of Grande Cache at 3:15 p.m. — EF0
  17. July 14: 4 kilometres northeast of Crossfield at 2:15 p.m. — EF0
  18. July 16: 9 kilometres north of Oyen at 2:35 p.m. — EF0
  19. July 18: 15 kilometres east of Carmangay at 5:20 p.m. — EF2
  20. July 24: Smoky Lake at 1:50 p.m. — EF0
  21. July 24: Hanmore Lake at 2:20 p.m. — EF2
  22. July 31: 12 kilometres southwest of Sylvan Lake at 8:34 p.m. — EF0
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Environment Canada said there were several events that continue to be investigated, and more tornadoes may be confirmed at a later date.

Should you have any information regarding a tornado event not listed here, or to report severe weather at any time, please call 1-800-239-0484, send an email to ABstorm@Canada.ca or tweet to #ABstorm.

READ MORE: Climate deadline more like 18 months instead of 12 years, some experts say

— With files from The Canadian Press

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