I have fond memories growing up in Saskatchewan and watching storms rumble across the prairies. I clearly remember driving out to the grid roads and gazing in awe as these massive storm cells rolled over the landscape, depositing rain and hail as lightning filled the sky. I also have a vivid memory of a tornado. I was playing in a youth soccer game as the sky began to get darker and the wind steadily increased. The next thing I remember is running to the car with my family and driving home. Once we arrived, my brother and I huddled inside as my parents closed the windows and brought various items inside so they wouldn’t become flying projectiles. I was scared and worried because I didn’t fully understand what was happening at the time and didn’t know anything about tornadoes.
Those early memories of extreme weather assisted in my curiosity and admiration of storms, a wonderment that still flourishes today. Thankfully, that tornado from my childhood didn’t result in any severe damage. Outside of some broken trees and scattered lawn furniture, things were pretty minor. Unfortunately, these incredible storms can wreak havoc and cause unprecedented damage to life and livelihood.
This is a collection of historical photos from across Alberta that focus on tornadoes and the damage they can cause. As I was searching through the archives I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the destruction depicted in these photographs. Unless you’ve lived through something similar, and I don’t count myself among them, it is very difficult to comprehend.
For more tornado-related content, take a look at this previous post where I profile Ricky Forbes for my Wild Jobs series. Ricky is a Canadian professional storm chaser based out of Saskatoon who has a penchant for both extreme sports and extreme weather.
The photos above were collected from the Glenbow Archives, with the exception of the final three, which were obtained from the Provincial Archives of Alberta. If you’re interested, additional information can be found for each photograph on the Glenbow website by searching the identification number that is printed on the photo. There is also the option to purchase a high resolution copy. If you search the object number that can be found in the photo captions, you will find additional information about the photographs on the Provincial Archives website. Stay tuned for additional posts featuring historical photos from across Alberta. We’d love to know what you think in the comment section below.