Tornado Terror

Yesterday started off like any other work day – 5am alarm, drag myself out of bed, throw on some clothes and drive to work. As the morning wore on, we started to hear reports of a really bad storm cell moving towards us and we began following it closely online.
Various weather watches were put into effect, and as the storm loomed ever closer, the watches started turning into warnings.
And then they were tornado warnings.
You’d think after growing up in Alberta and seeing so many of these types of storms that it would seem like no big deal. I don’t know if the internet and social media contributes to the panic people feel in situations like this, but as photos and stories were posted online, and the storm grew in strength, we became more and more unsure about what to do.
I work on an open (oil and gas) construction site that is basically in the middle of an open field. There is a lot of heavy equipment. I work in the office – a temporary trailer that is towed and propped up on site for this purpose. There is no foundation to the building, and definitely no basement.
Our site was only supposed to be hit by the edge of the storm, but of course it shifted direction and headed straight for us. We watched as the black clouds began to roll in, and the winds picked up.
Edmonton mammatus clouds
Mammatus Clouds
often indicate severe impending storm
I love watching storms. I love the thunder and lightning and cloud formations. But after we went outside and saw the mammatus clouds, the wall cloud and how much the sky was swirling, it became apparent that if something were to happen, it would happen quickly, and we wouldn’t be safe where we were.
A lot of the guys who work outdoors had already left, and as time wore on other people began to panic. People were leaving in a hurry, and eventually I decided to join them. The thought was that I would actually be safer in my car or outside than in the flimsy trailer. I ran to the car (wearing a garbage bag to keep dry) and drove through one of the heaviest downpours I have seen in a long time. The entire sky was black, there was lightning, and I had no idea at that point if leaving was the right decision.
Edmonton tornado warning 2013
This storm cell moved in so quickly
Edmonton tornado warning 2013
Swirly Clouds
Edmonton wall cloud
Wall Cloud
these types of clouds often form tornados
I had to stop at a red light and actually saw a mother and baby moose running in the ditch. They looked panicked and as though they were trying to find shelter. My car kept hydroplaning on the road. But as I got further from work and closer to the city, the sky began to lighten and the radio advised that the warnings had lifted.
It was all a bit intense, and by the time I got home, the sun was shining and I was exhausted.

sunshine peaking out of the clouds
The sun was shining when I arrived home.


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