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Damage left behind after twister touches down near Innisfail
Published Friday, July 8, 2011 5:04PM MDT
Many Albertans chose to grab their cameras and phones to capture amazing pictures and video of powerful storms that tore through part of the province Thursday.
People in parts of southern and central Alberta are now surveying the damage left behind after violent storms blew through bringing in some cases, funnel clouds and three tornadoes.
One of the hardest-hit areas is west of Innisfail where a tornado brought heavy rain, hail, huge blasts of lighting, and strong winds, leaving residents terrified, not sure whether to run for cover, or watch as the storm pounded the area.
"We probably lost 90 acres of trees, a big machine shop, a car shed, a feed mill," said resident Don Curtice.
At least three farms near Innisfail are shattered after the storm. And just down the highway, camping trailers are surrounded by a sea of fallen spruce trees.
One camper was able to breathe a sigh of relief once the dust settled.
"There was an angel on my shoulder, there had to be because there was a tree there and if would have come down, it would have crushed us," said Shane Cockriell.
The Jones family lost the roof of their shop, they still have a garage pad, but what's left of that building is now scattered.
"It's gone....yeah it's gone. But we'll get through it," said Andy Jones.
Mike Burlein and his wife Monica fled from their home to safety, only to discover their hiding place wasn't safe either as the winds started to pick up.
"The roof blew off and the wall fell in on the car we were in, so we sat there until things died down. We're both still alive that's the important thing," said Burlein.
A massive riding arena more than 180,000 square feet in size has been reduced to a pile of broken wood and twisted metal.
Residents are now coming together to pick up the pieces and see what can be rebuilt.
Red Deer, Sundre, Penhold and several other communities were also hit hard by the storm.
With files from Sean Amato