Wild Wind Ruffles Prairies

FTLComm - Tisdale - July 16, 2000
The sun was shining and it just seemly the thing to do so we set the table on the patio at lunch time Saturday. Sure there was a bit of a breeze but it was warm and . . . About half way through my salad and I had finished half my egg salad sandwich when one of the plastic deck chairs began dancing. My wife was annoyed with the performance and moved so that her back was facing the South wind and the chair she had been sitting on promptly tumbled off onto the lawn.

Though this seemed like a strong breeze we finished lunch and went on about the work we had to do, then we notice this loud crush sound and the little old shed in the neighbour's yard had toppled over. This was about 4:30 when the wind was now issuing a moaning to ugly howling sound. I was dispatched to gather up the deck chairs and pick up the several limbs of trees that now littered the back lawn. As I was doing this I discovered the back alley was a garbage can bowling alley. I saddled up the van to check out the rest of town for damage.

The picture at the top of the page is of a large poplar in the Lion's park that snapped under the strain of the pounding wind. Many of the streets had litter from broken twigs and where ever there were pine trees the streets and lawns were covered with deposited pine cones.

The picture on the right and below show typical small limb damage as some tree varieties seem more vulnerable to this kind of wind storm then others. Throughout town there were examples of large limbs that had broken off but mostly it was just small things like these. I was particularly
impressed with the amount
of damage sustained by some weeping willows which I thought would be resistant to this kind of situation but instead the material on the lawn at the right, came from several nearby willows.

It is fair to say that we dodged this one because had the wind held its high velocity for more time or been carrying more water then the sprinkle we received there would have been much more damage then a few broken limbs.

There appeared to have been a few knocked down trees at the golf course but as I was out taking these pictures, around 5:00 there were two dedicated duffers out there in the blast finishing up their round.

High wind like that we saw yesterday and is, though substantially less violent this morning, ruffling us up, is a product of a high gradient between a low pressure and high pressure area. Air masses that are very strong in close proximity to one another will produce these conditions and often with
some pretty nasty storm conditions. This present air mass is the same one that resulted in the catastrophic storm near Red Deer on Friday but because it came into contact with hot humid air the massive and violent storm resulted. With the low temperatures we have today we can expect some showers accompanied with high winds but hail and damaging winds are unlikely.

Northern Steel Industries was the only place to see some possible threats to property as parts of tanks ready to be assembled were extremely susceptible to the blast of the wind. This one made it into a ditch while the other others just toured the loading yard. This was at the main North plant.

At the West plant the scene was similar as the
pre-assembled rings rambled
around, this one actually came apart in the process and the sign was knocked over.

These rings have a large area so it does not take a lot of wind to affect them but keep in mind they are very heavy and if one got a move on would do considerable damage to other neighbouring property.

Completed tanks and Co-op's grain bins all remained at rest with this one exception. This large
permatank may have been
sitting on some uneven ground but as you can see it has rotated about four feet. At first one thinks that an object as heavy as this would stay put until you consider the huge surface area that it presents to the wind and then we can see how it might move.

As stated earlier, we were luck, though this was a substantial wind it came without rain and hail so we only had the wind to contend with and in general we were pretty luck.