Wild Weather in the Canadian West

Posted by in Calgary, Louise Behiel, weather | 12 comments

In the foothills of the Rockies”]I live in Calgary, a city of one million plus on the foothills of the Rocky Mountains about two hours north of Montana.  Yes we get winter and lots of it, but when you live here, you get used to lots of snow, icy roads and temperatures of -20C.  It doesn’t feel extreme to us – it’s just winter.  But we never get gale force winds – until this past Sunday.

We’re the center of the Canadian Oil Industry, which results in the city residents having a make or break mentality.  All or nothing.  Huge swings in real estate values.  And a Bentley dealership and Tiffany’s among other high end retail outlets.

Calgary is in the middle of ranching country, so think wranglers, boots and pick up trucks.

20 minutes west of Calgary

Yes, we’re north of the forty ninth and we get cold weather (last winter set a record for snowfall).  But I’ve never had an experience like this weekend:  wind.  50 mph on the surface and 90 mph at the top of high rises downtown and gusts even higher.

It knocked down trees, blew the roof off buildings, and deposited unanchored trampolines several yards away.  The wind was so strong that it blew over semi trailers on the highway.

It caused this pilot some challenges as he landed his Lufthansa Jet.  (Warning this is a loud video)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mneDbYYHfGM&feature=player_embedded]

And it created problems for truckers on the highways around the city.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=3kK23GtMEJ4]

And it fed a grassfire about 90 minutes south of me.  (Remember, this is November, north of the 49th.)

Fortunately, no damage to my house.  But I’m glad I don’t have my Christmas decorations up yet.  Who knows where they would have ended up?

12 Comments

  1. Tameri, the Rockies go much further north than Calgary even. I love visiting Denver – it feels like home with the mountains to the West. I love your name for the winds in your area. We get Chinook winds – warm lovely winds which raise our winter temperatures quickly and dramatically. This was clearly out of the blue and weird for Calgary.

    Come visit any time – I have a guest room which has a view of the rockies. Here’s a link to a pic of my home town: http://www.flickr.com/photos/go4long/6442244319/ And check out the Calgary Stampede – if you like rodeos and fun

  2. Yikes! That is some serious wind.

    We get crazy wind like that here in California. They have fancy names for them, but I just call them a pain my my patootie.

    You know, I never knew the Rockies went so high up north. When I think of the Rockies, it’s always my home town of Denver. Calgary looks gorgeous. I might have to visit and get a new meaning for Rockies!

  3. Wow that is some wild weather! I can’t believe that truck, so scary!

    • Pat I love the Rockies outside my front door, but I have to admit, they spoil us…when I travel elsewhere, I’m always confused about directions without the mountains in the west. In Albuquerque NM, I’m am so lost – there’s mountains all around the city.

    • Coleen I was glad to see the driver of the other truck stop and help the one who’s truck tipped over. we don’t usually get this kind of weather … it was so strange.

  4. I gasped when that truck went over. Wild weather, indeed, Louise. On an everyday basis, it must be uplifting to see the Rockies in the distance.

  5. Tim, I don’t like the cold either . enjoy the warmth of tornado alley.

  6. I don’t think I could survive the weather conditions in Canada. I’ll stay here in the Tornado Alley area of Oklahoma any day. I hate cold weather and I hate wind!

  7. Amazing, the damage that winds like that can do! We had something similar happen a couple years ago in September, when the remnants of Hurricane Ike showed up as a 6-hour wind storm. Power was out everywhere, and it shut down most of the midwest US for a couple days. Even weirder to happen in western Canada in November!

    • Jeanette, i think the passengers on that airplane were very lucky. And I agree – this wind in November is weird for our area. We never get those terribly high winds but apparently two weather systems collided and made a mess. Lucky for us, we didn’t have any power outages. I remember hearing about your storm – going without power for that long would be a pain in the …. well you know what I mean.

  8. Amazing, Louise. We heard the wind — in fact, we were supposed to get 90 km winds a day or two later — but it wasn’t nearly severe here as it was in southern Alberta. And then you guys got hit again with another big wind a few days later, didn’t you?

    Those videos are awesome. Thanks for sharing!

    • it was supposed to be ugly last night but turned out to be nothing. thank heavens. Wind like this is very rare here – more common in Lethbridge and points south of us.

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