Weather scientists out to provide clarity of tornado frequency in Canada
A group of weather scientists and engineers at Western University is out to provide a clearer picture of tornado frequency in Canada.
The Northern Tornadoes Project uses drones, satellite images, eyewitness accounts and on-the-ground forensics to learn about severe weather that often goes undetected in remote parts of the country.
Western engineering professor Greg Kopp, the project's co-founder, says with climate change on the march, it's vital to learn more about something that happens more often in Canada than people might think.
Kopp says that while the assumption has long been that Canada averages about 60 tornadoes a year, the true number is more than twice that.
And he says it's likely to grow as the continent deals with hotter, drier weather.
The group's research is also helping to determine whether construction methods and building codes should be changed to ensure homes and offices are better equipped to withstand tornadoes.
Wind engineer Connell Miller, a full-time project member, was on the ground the day after a violent tornado whipped through Didsbury, Alta., on Canada Day.
Miller says Didsbury got lucky that no one was killed, since tornadoes that rate four or higher on the Enhanced Fujita scale normally include fatalities.