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'Just because it's a weak tornado, doesn't mean it's not a tornado': Tiny twister touches down in Saanich

Last Updated May 21, 2020 at 7:05 pm PDT

(Courtesy Keith Harding)

The tiny twister was caught on camera

Meteorologist Michael Kuss says this only happens once or twice a year across the Pacific Northwest

SAANICH (NEWS 1130) — It’s a rare occurrence in our province, a very small tornado touched down around noon Thursday in Saanich.

NEWS 1130 Meteorologist Michael Kuss says while it was small and short-lived, it was definitely a tornado.

“Just because it’s a weak tornado, doesn’t mean it’s not a tornado. Any time you have a rotating mass of air that comes down and touches the ground that is a tornado,” he explains.

“What it looks like to me is an incredibly small, really weak rotating cloud that sunk down to the ground–probably a cold-core funnel cloud that touched down. Those normally don’t make it all the way down to the ground. When they do they don’t last long.”

Video shows grey, low-hanging clouds on a residential street.

Leaves on hedges start to flutter and flap.

Then the wind–which Kuss estimates was gusting at about 90 km/h– starts to shake nearby trees.

Just after the funnel cloud appears, a trampoline is tossed up into the air.

Kuss says this only happens once or twice a year across the Pacific Northwest.

“Any tornado in our region –around the Lower Mainland, the South Coast, the Pacific Northwest stretching all the way down to Oregon– is pretty uncommon,” he says, noting Ontario gets about 15 a year, as do the prairie provinces.