Journal: News & Comment

Tuesday, June 14, 2005
# 6:48:00 PM:

The Great Burnaby Twister of 2005

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We had weird weather today, with rain and thunder in Burnaby while it was sunny downtown, as well as further east. One consequence was some very unstable air, which created what I'll call a "proto-twister": a dust-devil–like air formation several hundred metres high that could, under the right circumstances, have turned into a tornado. Fortunately, it didn't, and soon dissipated. But I took some video with my digicam anyway:

Burnaby Twister (wide angle) Burnaby Twister (zoomed in)
Wide Angle (13.3 MB) | Zoomed In (2.8 MB)
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.

Movies require QuickTime. Audio commentary is by me, my wife, and (mostly) our seven-year-old daughter. For extra dramatic effect, try scrolling the video controller back and forth quickly to highlight the twister's spin.

When you look at it, you can see that this was no feeble wisp of wind—there was a real and substantial vortex building there. Compare it to some of the videos on the Web showing tornado formation and you'll see what I mean. It might only have been our hilly topography that managed to break it up before it became dangerous. Maybe. Or I might be exaggerating.

At the very least, there was a moment (about 45 seconds into my wide-angle video) where a funnel seemed to be forming. I briefly thought, "Oh shit," and considered ditching the camera while hustling the family into the basement.


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