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Two campgrounds in ruins. Houses lifted and shifted on their foundations. Thousands of trees felled as if by a giant meteorological axe.
All told, as many as 15 tornadoes swept through northern Saskatchewan and Alberta during the Canada Day weekend, new findings from Western's Northern Tornadoes Project (NTP) suggest.
NTP - Researchers - Project - Road - Trip
NTP researchers have just returned from the project's first official road trip, a little more than two weeks after Western announced the project's expanded scope to track and analyze every twister in the country.
They hopped flights after hearing reports a tornado had hit Cold Lake, Alberta, on June 28 and a campground about 360 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon the following day. There were unconfirmed sightings and damage reports of other twisters nearby.
Emilio - Hong - Aaron - Jaffe - Research
Emilio Hong and Aaron Jaffe, research engineers with the project, hit the ground running within 24 hours and were amazed by what they saw at Meadow Lake Provincial Park.
"There were just trees down everywhere. It looked like the area was obliterated. Crushed trailers and campers everywhere," Hong said.
Tree - Middle - People - Camper - People
A tree had split one camper down the middle, with five people inside. Another camper with two people in it had rolled on its side. No one was seriously injured.
Further exploration in a community called Goodsoil and in a nearby hamlet showed additional damage. Then they got a tip high winds had hit a cattle ranch. Expecting to find a few toppled trees, they arrived to an almost unbelievable scene.
Thousands - Thousands - Trees - Areas - Trees
"Thousands and thousands of trees down. There are areas where there are no trees standing," said Jaffe.
The outbreak and subsequent research "exemplifies what we are trying to do with NTP," executive director David Sills said. Without the project's resources, including collaboration with Environment and Climate Change...
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