Caught on cam: Tornado touches down on Vancouver Island
VICTORIA -- A small tornado that touched down on Vancouver Island Thursday afternoon was recorded on one resident’s front door camera.
The video shows the tornado passing through a Saanich neighbourhood and launching a trampoline high into the sky.
Prisilla Harding says her husband Keith happened to be looking out the window of their home when it happened.
"He saw the tornado come down and touch down behind our neighbour's house right across the street from us," Harding told CTV News Vancouver Island. "And then he saw a trampoline get thrown over the neighbour next door across the street, over his house, and then five, six houses down."
Harding said both she and her husband were born and raised on Vancouver Island. Neither of them has ever seen a tornado on the island before.
"My husband has always joked around, saying, 'Oh, we could always get a tornado here, we could always get one here,'" Harding said. "And I was always like, 'No, what are you talking about? You're crazy.'"
According to Environment Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan, the tornado appears to be a weak, EF0 tornado.
“The tornado that we saw today is a 'weak tornado,' or an EF0,” said Castellan. “An EF0 is the enhanced fujita scale. So it’s essentially a non-supercell tornado.”
Castellan says that tornadoes like the one pictured in the video are created in rapidly forming, unstable atmospheres.
“As a result, it happens very quickly,” he said.
EF0 tornadoes tend to last anywhere from several seconds to 15 minutes. Castellen believes that this tornado was likely over within a few minutes.
According to the meteorologist, such tornadoes can cause damage, but generally not much.
“It was obviously strong enough to take a trampoline and eject it maybe 100 or so metres away from its original position,” said Castellen.
EF0 tornadoes bluster at winds of at least 90 km/h, said the meteorologist.
“It was certainly impressive footage to see a trampoline ejected so far into the sky.”
Harding said the sight "freaked out" her whole family, who had no way of knowing how dangerous the situation might get.
"My husband was telling the kids to get downstairs," she said. "He was really hoping that the tornado wouldn't come across the street."
In a way, she said, the family is still shaken by the event. Their security camera video is going viral, and they've been fielding calls from friends and reporters about what happened.
"It hasn't gone back to normal," Harding said. "Our phone has been ringing off the hook."
Castellen says that EF0 tornadoes sometimes appear on Vancouver Island, though they are generally considered rare. The twisters tend to occur in the spring or fall seasons in southern B.C.
“They happen every couple of years I would say,” said Castellen.
“Am I ever going to see one live in my lifetime? That’s almost an impossible ask. So in a way they’re very rare but in a lot of other ways we do tend to expect them at this time of year.”
According to Environment Canada, there have been no reports of injuries related to the weather event.