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Alberta’s Tornado Belt

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front mirror of car full of rain water

Some of the worst weather I have ever encountered in this province happens on our drive from Calgary to Edmonton or vice versa. You get to around Sundre/Bowden/Red Deer and it seems that you enter a belt of weather that is unlike anywhere else I have been in this province.

Sometimes, like last weekend, it takes nerves of steel to travel through it.

We hit a massive storm around the Sundre area which slowed traffic to a crawl on the Queen Elizabeth highway. And that takes some weather to slow people down on that road, let me tell you. People were pulled over to the side to wait it out, we were traveling a mere 50 km a hour with the wipers on high and didn’t pull over because I just wanted to get through it instead of waiting for a twister to hit.

I have this fear/fascination with tornadoes. Anyone who lived in Edmonton during the massive F4 that hit the city still, in the back of their mind, knows that it danged well could happen again.

The Red Deer area has had more than their share of twisters, some causing damage like the Pine Lake tornado and others just touching down. It’s becoming a yearly event that funnel clouds are spotted in this area.

Which makes me hate driving through it during summer thunderstorms.

I spend the whole time panicking, quietly, as to not upset the kids, but panicking nonetheless.

The clouds are just fiercely ugly around there, they get so low, so dark, so evil looking that I watch them like a hawk the entire time we drive through.

 

dark clouds and pine trees

Sometimes I will grab Mike’s arm and quietly shriek – a quiet shriek can be done, my friend, most assuredly- that this is the one that’s gonna churn and twist!

I have actually witnessed a confirmed funnel cloud before,when I was in high school walking home with a friend, Christine, I do recall.  Or was it Kandice? We looked at the cloud…thought it looked funny…then heard later that yes, funnel clouds were spotted above Airdrie.

It looked a lot like the picture below. A small little plume coming straight down out of the clouds in an abnormal way. Which is why I kinda quietly shrieked. But we were on our way out of that mess of weather thankfully.

Mr Magpie has spotted a funnel cloud driving through the area and it was confirmed later on by Environment Canada that there were several spotted that day last summer. Unfortunately it was a crappy picture on his Black Berry, he’s never “packing” the photography equipment like I perpetually am.

thick dark clouds

And this would be how concerned my children were.

My son looked up from his DS about ten minutes out of the rain and said “Huh, it’s stopped raining?”.

Yes dear, and your mother had 5 panic attacks, a heart failure or two and one good freak out.

boy sitting in the car with heads down

 

Oh boy, I have months of travel back and forth through the tornado belt, I can’t wait!

Love,

The Love to Panic Magpie

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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  1. Rebeccamckayphotography says

    I knew I loved you for a reason.  Thank you for making me feel like I’m not crazy for having such a brutal fear.  <3

  2. Light says

    Weird that I come up as Light…
    I’m signing this one, Lael 🙂

  3. Light says

    Your post prompted me to do some research on tornadoes…yikes! I gave myself anxiety,lol
    Normally I love big storms-I grew up on the Coast-but I think it’s better to just watch the skies for interesting sights instead of actually learning stuff about them;p Iggnorance is bliss!

  4. Liv V. says

    Yikes! I love watching the skies here but sometimes they are a bit too ominous.

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