Alberta Foothills Weather

August 15 – Damage survey of July 30 tornado path

We headed out early this morning to have a look at the forest destruction in the foothills west of Sundre.
It was a beautiful morning out there, nice and warm, clear blue skies.

We spent a bit over 3 hours walking around on the south flank of Old Baldy Mountain in amazement at the sight of twisted, uprooted, shredded trees all around us. No question in my mind now that this is where the tornado formed, everything in the main damage area we looked at had been sucked to the middle from all sides, the complete opposite of a downburst, and nothing like a straight line event. Some seriously twisted up trees in there, including a large stand of mature Poplar that got cranked on pretty good. It was a mix of Pine, Spruce and Poplar, mostly mature, and now it’s a tangled mess that will be tough to clean up. Many hundreds of large Pine and Spruce were uprooted and blown/sucked over, many more than that were snapped off clean. One way or another, if you were a tree, you were going down. Only a few branchless ghosts and topless stems sticking up out of the mess. There was enough force involved to pull young spruce right out of the ground.

The damage path we could see stretched 1.7 miles, there was more on the west side we couldn’t get to, and the path disappeared over the top of the hill to the east, not sure how much further it goes that way, but it was still going hard enough when it made it to the top to take out a 1/4 mile wide swath of trees. The main patch of damage we concentrated on was almost 1/2 mile wide. Good grizzly and cougar country out there so we weren’t interested in trudging through the thick stuff too much, and were hoping there wasn’t a lot of carrion in the mess of downed trees pulling in the big toothed beasties from all around. Saw one moose all day. Good enough for us!
I was out at Pine Lake and saw what the F3 did out there, these trees looked a lot worse to me, but I’m no met so will not guess what the rating should be for this rare foothills twister. F4! 🙂
The panoramas are large, up to 4.5mb, so may take some time to load.

Tornado damage in the Alberta foothills west of Sundre - August 15, 2010July 30 damage mapTornado damage in the Alberta foothills west of Sundre - August 15, 2010
Tornado damage in the Alberta foothills west of Sundre - August 15, 2010Tornado damage in the Alberta foothills west of Sundre - August 15, 2010
Tornado damage in the Alberta foothills west of Sundre - August 15, 2010Tornado damage in the Alberta foothills west of Sundre - August 15, 2010
Tornado damage in the Alberta foothills west of Sundre - August 15, 2010Tornado damage in the Alberta foothills west of Sundre - August 15, 2010

4 Responses to “August 15 – Damage survey of July 30 tornado path”

  1. 1
    Dann Cianca Says:

    Wow, Pat… that’s incredible. Can you imagine being out there when that thing came roarin’ through??

  2. 2
    Brad Says:

    That thing was a dyson.

    Amazing width on that swath.

  3. 3
    PB Says:

    No doubt Dann
    We must’ve said that a hundred times walking around out there.
    Can you imagine if you were camped right there??, or were a fuzzy animal of any kind in there?

    Hi Brad
    Good thing almost 50% of the ground it mowed over had been cut 10 years ago. Not sure how they go about getting in there to clean that up with all the uprooted ones in the way.

  4. 4
    Craig Says:

    I would rate that tornado as a low-end EF3.

    TS DOD5 (debarking) suggests winds around 130 mph at least. Given the large number of debarked trees and its width, that seems to support winds around 140 mph.

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