‘It gets our blood pumping’: Meteorologists say Saanich tornado first on Island in 50+ years

'It gets our blood pumping': Meteorologists say Saanich tornado first on Island in 50+ years
WatchA rare tornado in Saanich Thursday lasted only a few seconds but was caught on camera. It's the first on Vancouver Island since 1966. April Lawrence reports.

A doorbell video captures the moment a full-sized trampoline flies high into the air and then is tossed to the ground by a tornado in Saanich Thursday afternoon.

“Ran outside saw it all the way up the road to the top and couldn’t believe my eyes,” said witness Erin Fletcher.

The rare landspout, classified as an EF0, has meteorologists giddy.

“B.C. has one of the lowest counts of tornadoes across the country so when we do see something tornadic, it gets our blood pumping, there’s a lot of high-fiving,” said Armel Castellan, a warning preparedness meteorologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada.

READ MORE: Saanich tornado sends trampoline airborne on Thursday

While the last recorded tornado on Vancouver Island was in Ucluelet in 1966, cameras have recorded water spouts before, including one near French Creek in 2017. While water spouts are rare, they’re not unheard of.

Castellan says conditions for these extreme weather events have to be just right, usually occurring in spring or fall, with an unstable atmosphere and a few other key ingredients.

Thursday’s Saanich storm had it all.

“We also had essentially a line of, not quite thunderstorms, but towering cumulus, in the industry we call them TCU’s and they create a lot of sudden updraft in the atmosphere,” said Castellan.

It’s a different makeup than the tornadoes one would typically see in the prairies, which last longer and cover larger areas.

Castellan estimates Thursday’s tornado travelled about 400 metres and lasted only a few seconds, with winds about 105 to 137 kilometres an hour.

Incredibly, nobody was hurt and the only real damage was to the trampoline.

And Castellan says if it wasn’t for that flying piece of play equipment, we might never have known there was a tornado at all.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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