After two funnel clouds were spotted in the Grande Prairie area in late June you may think something was going on. However, according to Environment Canada, it’s sheer happenstance.
“We happen to have the right amount of moisture, the right amount of instability, a trigger that allows the vertical motion to start, and the right wind profile to allow for development for rotation in these storms,” says Warning Preparedness Meteorologist Natalie Hasell.
“A lot of it is just coincidence that we’ve had that over and over.”
On June 24th, funnel clouds were spotted over Grande Prairie, Sexsmith and Clairmont, with another cloud, spotted the next afternoon in the sky near Wembley.
At the time, Meteorologist Dan Kulak says the storm formations weren’t likely to cause any danger but you never know.
“These types of funnel clouds are generated by weak rotation under rapidly growing clouds or weak thunderstorms. This weak rotation is normally not a danger near the ground. However, there is a chance that this rotation could intensify and become a weak landspout tornado.”
Hasell says those concerned about having the chance of more severe weather occurrences or fear living in a Canadian “Tornado Alley”, can put those fears to rest, as the majority of the storms are spread out over a large geographical area.
“It’s not a term we use in Canada very much, if at all. All of the Prairies see a lot of thunderstorms and rotation in these storms. You’re not alone.”
Only two tornadoes were confirmed throughout the entire province in 2018.