Mini tornado touches down in Whitecroft

“Incredible. Everyone says; Wow that’s crazy!’ but it’s absolutely incredible,” says Whitecroft resident Seth Worthen.

That’s Worthen’s response to what he found, or rather, didn’t find in his fenced backyard on Oct. 12. The legs were still there, but his full-sized trampoline had relocated to the neighbour’s garden.
Worthen initially thought that the trampoline was stolen, but who, he wondered, would steal a trampoline without the legs?

“You can’t even get it out of the yard without taking it apart,” he commented.

The wild weather that swept through the area that day became the prime suspect.

One resident who witnessed the storm reported seeing a cyclone-like event blow from the north-west through the community, rattling the shingles of one house as it passed over it. Dark clouds and hail accompanied the wind.

For Worthen’s trampoline to escape his yard, it had to clear the fence-line, trees and outbuildings that separate his yard from his neighbour’s. He estimates it would have had to soar 45 feet up into the air, to land where it did, 125 feet from its starting point. Nothing else in Worthen’s yard was moved.
Rob Pigott of Enviro B.C. Weather Services explains that the cause of the mystery could have been a surface-based dust devil, but was more likely a small F-0 tornado.

“With the dark skies and hail, I would say, without actually getting up there to look at it, it could be a mini tornado, one that could have speeds of maybe 80 to 100 kilometres per hour,” said Pigott. “(Tornados) range from zero to five, and F-0 are the ones who do very little damage and usually don’t last more than a few minutes.”

Radar images plotting the weather for that day, Pigott explained, indicate air masses that could have contributed to a tornado event.

“It’s normally late spring and summer when tornados happen, but strange things happen at times. In the Interior, when you get into the cooler months like October, it’s unlikely but not impossible.”

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