LETHBRIDGE: It was "The" question out of every mouth Wednesday evening - What happened?
While some are asking if a tornado touched down, that has not been
confirmed. Country 95 News spoke with Environment Canada's lead meteorologist, Brenda Niskaaro, who said there was no confirmation of a tornado but, if anyone has pictures of a funnel cloud, Environment Canada would like to see it.
According to Niskaaro, an intense, but short-lived, storm cell passed through Lethbridge around 6:00 with the strongest portion
of the cell clipping the southern section of the city. For a short period, peak wind gusts hit 133-kmph (hurricane force is 110-kmph) and possibly higher outside the city. She says, "This type of "straight-line" short burst wind can cause a substantial amount of damage which is similar to a tornado". However, it is not a tornado. It is referred to as a "micro-burst", where wind comes strait down and then fans out into straight lines. Niskaaro confirmed there was also reports of nickle-sized hail south of the city.
Several trees were felled, including one in Tudor Estates but, some of the
worst damage could be seen further south. The parking lot at Costco was
underwater. Portions of a roof were torn of a show home in Paradise Canyon. The Paradise Canyon Golf Course was coated in pea-size hail.
Across Mayor Magrath Drive, at Superstore, there is a significant
hole in the roof with water inside the store. Metal-roofed shopping cart corrals
were tossed by the wind and left on their sides. Several vehicles were damage
by flying debris and Superstore employees and customers were evacuated from the building because of a possible gas leak and Fire Crews were on-scene.
Further south, out towards the airport, Field of Dreams R-V sales, has about
six heavily damaged travel trailers. One trailer was thrown 100-feet by the wind
Country 95 News photos: Top - Superstore shopping cart corral blown over. Bottom photos - Trailer blown onto its side and another travel trailer that was tossed 100-feet.