Many residents were stunned to witness a tornado touch down near Keeler, Saskatchewan, over 100 kilometres northwest of Regina. Residents posted photos and videos to social media, and as one said “it came out of nowhere.”
“My wife and I were watching TV when there was a sudden bolt of lightning and a loud crack of thunder,” said Rob Been. “We stepped onto the deck and literally watched it form, I grabbed my phone and videoed what I could … the tornado was 2 to 3 kilometres south of us. As far as I know there was no damage.”
Environment Canada found out about it through reports posted to Twitter with video and pictures of the tornado. Meteorologist Terri Lang said they can’t determine what level the tornado was without receiving videos and and photos.
According to Environment Canada, the ratings of tornadoes are based on the damage that they do and is not based on their appearance or their size.
“We won’t classify it until we see the damage reports because tornadoes are classified based on the damage that they do, not what they look like,” she said. “There’s been some reports of damage but we haven’t seen any pictures and we haven’t received any kind of information about it. So, that makes it a little bit hard to confirm what damage there was.”
Lang describes it as a land spout tornado which is different from a supercell tornado. She said both are capable of doing damage but they form in different ways.
“Lines about tornadoes tend to be very short lived and formed rapidly. They don’t have the same kind of look on radar as supercell tornadoes do,” she said. “Supercells form in the middle of the atmosphere and work their way down so we can see rotation in the cloud … we generally don’t see that rotation on the radar, so they form quickly and dissipate quickly. So they’re quite hard to forecast.”
Environment Canada confirms that Saskatchewan receives 19 tornadoes each year and advises people to know what to do when a tornado occurs.
“When you do hear of a tornado warning, it’s time to take shelter. We advise people to go to the lowest level in their house, which is generally the basement, and get inside an interior room or under stairs or anything like that,” said Lang. “You want to put as many walls between yourself and the outside as you can … if you’re in a office building or a tall building, you get down to the lowest layer that you can and go into an interior hallway, get out of large span buildings such as arenas and that type of thing. You’re not safe in there.”
For weather updates, visit Environment Canada‘s website.