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Extremely rare November tornado hits Vancouver, Canada

tornado-vancouver-november-2021

An extremely rare November tornado hit the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada at 17:10 PDT on November 6, 2021 (01:10 UTC, November 7).

  • The event started as a waterspout over the Strait of Georgia which then came ashore and caused minor damage at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and immediate vicinity. 
  • The last time a tornado hit Vancouver was on July 25, 1976 (F0). The last time a tornado hit the Vancouver area was on March 10, 1991 (F0, Pitt Meadows). All past tornadoes in the area occurred from March to July, according to the Northern Tornadoes Project.

The tornado was rated as EF-0 with wind speed between 90 and 110 km/h (56 – 68 mph). It caused broken trees/tree limbs, scattered tree debris, uprooted trees, downed power lines, and caused damage to vehicles due to falling tree branches.1

British Columbia is not a hot spot for tornadoes at any time of the year, so for one to occur there in the heart of fall is certainly a rare occurrence, The Weather Network said.2

"A November tornado is extremely rare in Canada, but for the city of Vancouver, British Columbia it's the next-level rare," said Tyler Hamilton, a meteorologist for The Weather Network.

"If there's ever a tornado season in the Pacific Northwest, it's the fall where water temperatures are still relatively warm. Add record-breaking Siberian air into the mix, and it's a recipe for an atmospheric mistake of epic proportions," Hamilton said and explained observations that led to the formation of the tornado.3

According to the Northern Tornadoes Project (NTP), the City of Vancouver has only seen three tornadoes in recorded history (F1 in 1956, F0 in 1962, F0 in 1976), with twisters also occurring in nearby communities New Westminster (F1 in 1954), Steveston (F1 in 1964), Port Moody (F0 in 1988) and Pitt Meadows (F0 in 1991).4

References:

1 Weather summary for British Columbia issued by Environment Canada at 12:19 p.m. PST Monday 8 November 2021.

2 'Ultra-rare' November tornado hits Vancouver, B.C., damage reported – TWN

3 How Vancouver, B.C, pulled off the tornado upset of the century – TWN

4 Northern Tornadoes Project – Twitter

Featured image credit: Kevin Adams

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