Storm near Provost sends debris crashing into ground
Published Friday, June 26, 2009 4:46PM MDT
A damaging wind storm, with a reported, but unconfirmed tornado, hit late Thursday afternoon near Provost, Alta.,approximately 290 kilometres southeast of Edmonton.
The storm left some areas of the town without power. More than 20 power poles were knocked down from the wind and a number of trees fell on the poles as well.
RCMP in Provost received a report of a tornado touching down near Secondary Highway 600 and Highway 41 at 4:50 p.m. Thursday. An official tornado warning was issued around 5:15 p.m.
Environment Canada reported Thursday that a tornado had touched down. After investigating Environment Canada now believes the storm was more likely to be a powerful "straight line wind event."
"These things, they tend to swirl around and pick up dust and debris and tend to give the appearance of rotation when in fact really the main part of the story is just all moving in a straight line," said Environment Canada Meteorologist Dan Kulak.
Residents in the Provost area told CTV's Bill Fortier that what appeared to be a massive dirt storm hit just before 5 p.m. Many people who were watching from windows said that they couldn't see much in front them except dust swirling.
"It's pretty scary, you know makes you think how vulnerable you are," said resident Ken Botting. "(I) had a couple of grandkids with in the house there and all there was was a dirt storm looked like it cleaned the yard out and everything that wasn't tied down went East."
The arena in Provost was damaged when heavy winds blew material off the building, sending debris crashing to the ground. Grain bins were destroyed and a baseball dugout was ripped right off its foundation.
Two semi-trailers collided as a result of heavy dust and zero visibility, neither driver was injured.
Some minor property damage is also being reported in the Metiskow, Czar and Provost areas. A number of trees in the affected area were uprooted.
Winds had been gusting to 80-100 kilometres per hour Thursday afternoon.
RCMP said no injuries have been reported and they expect that the cleanup will take some time.
With files from Bill Fortier