Canada scored its first tornado in 2023 on Saturday, marking the latest in the season the country has recorded its initial tornado in a year since 2015.
The twister occurred approximately 6 km southeast of Regina, Sask. While the tornado was given a preliminary rating of EF-0 by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), the Northern Tornadoes Project (NTP) designated it an EF-1 after inspecting the damage it caused at a nearby farm. It had maximum wind speeds of 150 km/h, with debris flung up to 2.5 kilometres north-northeast of the site.
Several photos of the farm impacted by the twister surfaced on social media.
"The supercell developed to the south [of Regina and] moved north. We had that funnel cloud develop and dust rotating at the surface in those yet-to-be-planted fields," said Kevin MacKay, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.
Cole Zinkhan, who owns the property that is approximately six kilometres south of Regina, showed Connor O'Donovan, video journalist at The Weather Network, the damage via a video interview.
He wasn't at home during the time of the tornado, finding out about it through a friend who texted him Sunday morning. Zinkhan started seeing the damage appear about three kilometres or so from his property, he said.
"We kind of came into the yard and came around...you could see the doors gone, pushed in and [the barn] is just leaning," said Zinkhan. "We weren't here to see it, we weren't here to be part of it, so it wasn't scary for us."
The May 27, 2023 tornado makes it the latest in the year for the country to see its first twister since May 30, 2015, when one occurred near Thorndale and Bryanston, Ont.
In 2022, Canada's inaugural tornado of the season also happened in May, with a weak landspout documented on the 15th in Casselman, a village in eastern Ontario, southeast of Ottawa.
This isn't the first time Saskatchewan has nabbed the country's first tornado of the season, grabbing the honour in 2021 on May 12. The brief, EF-0-rated tornado was observed about 10 km northwest of Saskatoon. Quebec quickly followed up with the country's second tornado of that year, happening on May 15.
The May trend of first tornadoes also goes back to 2020, with B.C. seeing Canada's inaugural twister of the year on the 21st, a weak and short-lived landspout, designated with an EF-0 rating. . This is a highly unusual occurrence in a province that regularly goes several years without reporting a tornado.
Season runs from May to October but tornadoes don't always follow that timeline
Canada's tornado season typically runs from May to October, but there have been many instances of twisters happening outside of that timeframe.
In fact, Ontario's earliest tornado on record occurred on March 16, 2016, near Mount Forest. The tornado ripped through grain bins, metal sheds and hundred-year-old trees. It was given an E-1 rating, with a path approximately 3.5 kilometres long. No injuries were reported.
Also in 2016, on April 13, an EF-0 landspout was confirmed just outside the Calgary, Alta., causing no damage.
B.C. tornado in November 2021. (Shane Sidsworth/Submitted)
In 2020, a rare late-season tornado happened in Ontario on Nov. 15, cutting a path through the northern GTA community of Georgetown, with downed trees and some roof damage reported, though no injuries.
The following year, Vancouver, B.C., saw a "ultra-rare" November tornado, coming ashore and causing minor tree damage at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and immediate vicinity. No injuries were reported.
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Thumbnail courtesy of Jennifer Kreklewich/Submitted.
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