Didsbury, AB Supercell – July 1st, 2023

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This day ended up producing multiple supercells across Central and Northern Alberta, with A Tornado Warned Storm near Didsbury, AB, that produced A long lived, violent EF4 Tornado that impacted 14 homes, completely destroying 5, killing multiple different types of livestock, and injuring 1 person.

The day Began with me and my chase partner, Austin Hern, waking up in Olds, AB, from a previous days chase near Beiseker, AB on June 30th, and decided to head to Bashaw, AB, where the models showed A very active afternoon in Central AB, with main hazards being 5-7cm hail, 90-120km/h wind gusts, torrential downpours, and tornadoes.

Bashaw, AB – July 1st, 2023
12:45pm, Facing W

As we waited in Bashaw, AB, we realized that A supercell was quickly brewing back in Olds along the foothills, roughly 20 minutes east from where we woke up A few hours earlier. We then faced the difficult decision of either sticking to our original target area, where the Low was forecasted, showing A better environment for storm initiation, or double-back to Olds. We eventually caved in and decided to return to Olds.

As we were heading south, The Severe Warned storm went Tornado Warned, with A rotating wall cloud and funnel reported. The funnel then quickly touched down and quickly became violent, hitting properties along Highway 582 near Carstairs, AB, and Didsbury, AB.

Highway 21, near Trochu, AB – July 1st, 2023
2:34PM, shortly after the tornado dissipated.

As we crested the Hilltop near Trochu, AB, we watched the huge Tornado begin to weaken, roughly 25-30km away.

With the storm still Tornado-Warned, we quickly repositioned and approached it on Highway 582 near Sunnyslope, AB, where we were able to capture STUNNING photos of the supercell in the countryside.

Highway 582, near Sunnyslope, AB – July 1st, 2023
Highway 582, near Sunnyslope, AB – July 1st, 2023

We then followed the storm, now downgraded to A Severe Thunderstorm Warning, all the way to Drumheller, AB, where it began to weaken at a rapid pace, and then die off.

We then called the chase, as the storms firing to the north near Red Deer, AB, were unfortunately out of our reach as they headed N-NE, and began to head home to Medicine Hat. Very successful day!

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