Alberta Foothills Weather

July 7 – Supercellular Sundre

Tornadoes, baseball sized hail, torrential rain, what a day.
I was in Sundre this afternoon just as a big supercell was gathering steam to the southwest in the hills. The first hint of a nasty day came one minute after I found a spot on the west side of town to set up the tripod, and the hail started.
Traffic backed up for a mile in Sundre due to bridge construction( the only river crossing for many miles), great.
I snuck around and got across quickly with hail pelting and made it up the hill and around the backside, setting up on the hill east of Bergen to watch if something might happen. A friendly gent stopped by and we chatted about the happenings for a few minutes while things began to churn in front of us. A nice cone funnel formed up and reached for ground about 5 miles southwest of Bergen then a little finger touched briefly, yarding up a bit of shred before the circulation blew apart.
A lot of churning over and around Sundre for about an hour afterward, large speedy inflow bands appearing from the southeast, the northeast, all over the place until it finally crawled up and over the ridge and headed east, flaring up a beautiful spinning meso.
So nice that it spun itself apart a bit, but it wasn’t done. I stopped at the Bergen road/hwy 22 intersection to watch and get some vid, then another storm watcher pulled over, then another, etc. Before long it looked like Kansas, vehicles parked all over the place, everybody out with their cameras watching the show.

Just before 6, the storm gathered up and developed another nice cone funnel that eventually stretched a thin tube to the ground, we couldn’t see it touch from our spot but there are nice photos of it with debris flying underneath. Looking through my photos, it appears to have touched down a few minutes earlier as well, I don’t remember seeing it happen though.
Talked to a gent there from Sundre who had just got out of town after a solid hour of non stop hail, including some the size of his fist, which was bigger than mine.
After the tube lifted the circulation spread out again, it looked like it was going to split, or it did I’m not sure, but soon it was all pulling back together not far from where the last circulation was, building into another big spinning mass. May have seen another tornado in the distance northwest of Eagle hill and maybe two, but they were a long way off and could have been scuds.
I got out ahead of it for the first time heading for Bowden and got to marvel at the lovely stack for a few minutes before it started pick up some speed. I headed for home and so did the core. I beat it here by 4 minutes, but we didn’t get anything worse than some soft quarter sized hail and an inch of rain in 15 minutes. After it passed I chased it into Red Deer where it died a sudden death, coming across some solid golf balls in the ditch only a few miles east of here.

Great day if you like watching storms. Impressive motion and shearing speed all over the place, green nasty looking stuff, towering stacked pastries. Doesn’t get much better!
Not such a good day for the insurance folks. Or the guy in the pickup with the creamed windshield. I’m sure he wasn’t the only one.

Supercell building southwest of Sundre,AB - 4:07pm July 7, 2011Funnel forming southwest of Sundre,AB - 4:40pm July 7, 2011Spinning mesocyclone east of Sundre,AB - 5:26pm July 7, 2011
Funnel about to be a tornado east of Sundre,AB - 5:51pm July 7, 2011Trying to spin a funnel west of Olds, AB - 6:38pm July 7, 2011Funnel west of Olds - 6:44pm July 7, 2011
Spinny bits west of Olds,AB - 6:52pm July 7, 2011Possible tornado northeast of Eagle Hill, AB - 7:03pm July 7, 2011Gruesome green skies north of Olds - 7:08pm July 7, 2011
Supercell thunderstorm west of Bowden, AB - 7:38pm July 7, 2011Supercell thunderstormsouthwest of Innisfail,AB - 8:10pm July 7, 2011

7 Responses to “July 7 – Supercellular Sundre”

  1. 1
    Colin McIntyre Says:

    Your sure this is Alberta right?Incredible!!I should have
    got a job at the Olds Collage cafateria when i was still
    a student there in 1992.

  2. 2
    anthony L Says:

    Beautiful Pat. One for the memories.But seriously its time to share a bit… :))

  3. 3
    Brandon Says:

    I am speechless. It stings missing that storm knowing how special it was. I was a bit worried when it took off to the northeast towards your place and Red Deer. Glad you stayed safe…

  4. 4
    Matt Johnson Says:

    Absolutely beautiful pictures once again, Pat.

    Glad you got a pic of the funnel as it was coming down too. I was hoping to see a shot.

    I phoned into EC around 6:00 i believe. I was on Range Road 20 west of Olds when I saw a possible debris cloud that was passing through a farm. A van passed me as I sat on the side of the road. Just then a shed was picked up, narrowly missing the van/SUV and smased on the road. Trees were blowin down and a farmer I talked to lost his workshop.
    A guy came up behind me and told me he saw a funnel shortly before with the same debris cloud, but I didnt’t see one.
    Ec saw said it was a possible tornado. Wind was so strong i had to turn my car into the wind as the shaking was making me very nervous.

    Anyway just wanted to share that story with ya. My site is down right now and all I had was my cell phone. You can see the pictures on twitter if you’d like. Twitter name is ABstormchasing.

  5. 5
    Pat Boomer Says:

    Thansk for sharing Matt, we were out there looking around today on rr15, 20,21, some interesting damage for sure.
    Sure looks like a nader from pics I’ve seen.

  6. 6
    Dann Cianca Says:

    Fantastic again… glad to see the hail killers didn’t do much on this one!

  7. 7
    Pat Boomer Says:

    Thanks Dann
    The bombers didn’t stand a chance against this thing, they weren’t sure which way to to go, the inflow kept moving around, but that didn’t stop em trying. Crazy buggers. Watched them a lot, bouncing around in that wicked shear right up it’s butt.

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