Endiang ‘tornado’ shakes up humid summer

What’s believed to be a tornado struck the Endiang area late last Tuesday afternoon.

A plane on former Drumheller-Stettler MLA Jack Hayden’s farm was tossed upside down on the corrals last Tuesday as an apparent tornado struck the Endiang area. A storage shed was destroyed in the process.

A plane on former Drumheller-Stettler MLA Jack Hayden’s farm was tossed upside down on the corrals last Tuesday as an apparent tornado struck the Endiang area. A storage shed was destroyed in the process.

What’s believed to be a tornado struck the Endiang area late last Tuesday afternoon. Marty Brooker videotaped the funnel cloud, moving in a southwest to northeast direction, from his yard 10 kilometres east of Endiang.

“At one point, it appeared two funnel clouds hooked together to form a larger funnel cloud,” said Brooker, who took the video at about 4:30 p.m.

The video clip appeared on TV newscasts.

The most destruction occurred at the farm of former Drumheller-Stettler MLA Jack Hayden, where a storage shed housing an ultra-light airplane, among other things, was totally destroyed.

“This was no ordinary wind,” said Hayden, who was not home at the time of the storm.

When Hayden arrived home, he found there wasn’t one piece of the structure that was left standing and the debris was strewn in every direction, except toward his home. The plane was upside down on top of the nearby corrals.

Some of the cement footings were lifted out of the ground. Pieces of the 20-by-40-foot wood and metal-clad building were scattered around the farmyard. A couple of pieces were driven into the side of a combine, many pieces were deposited in a nearby slough, and some pieces were taken much further.

Jim Wasdal, a local farmer, flew over the Hayden farm in his airplane and said he could see pieces of the building scattered in a path a half mile to the northeast.

Another neighbour, Jim Groundwater, who lives about 10 kilometers northeast of Hayden, was watching the funnel cloud with binoculars.

“I spotted a large piece of tin in the funnel cloud as it passed by,” Groundwater said.

A number of trees were taken down in the Hayden yard, and the upper third of the yard-light pole was twisted off.

The light fixture from pole was found a couple of hundred yards to the southeast.

A steel calf-cradle that was beside the shed was found at the edge of the slough about 400 yards away.

“It usually takes three men to lift it,” Hayden said.

Strangely though, a light barbecue that was standing a mere 20 feet away from the missing shed wasn’t even tipped over.

Other damage from the storm occurred southwest of Endiang near the farm of Ken and Eleanor Schultz; they inherited a granary from the neighbouring land of Warren Jones.

They were watching the funnel cloud and could see it going up and down.

The next day, they discovered the Jones granary about 300 to 400 hundred yards into their hay field.

“The granary was the third one in the row of granaries,” said Eleanor Schultz. “It broke Jones’ fence, put a couple of gouges in the road, then went between our fence and the power line, touching neither.”

Some other area farms suffered damage to trees, but fortunately there were no personal injuries or loss of homes.

Stormy weather across central Alberta and southern Saskatchewan last Tuesday spawned reports of five tornadoes.

Meteorologist Louis Kohanyi with Environment Canada said the office received calls about tornadoes touching down in Alberta, west of Didsbury and near Endiang.

In Sakatchewan, tornadoes were reported west of Davidson, southwest of Watrous, and southwest of Quill Lake.