Did a tornado sweep through northern B.C.? Environment Canada investigating

A powerful storm hit B.C.'s Peace region on Wednesday, downing trees and damaging buildings. Some residents reported tornado touchdowns in the region.

Environment Canada is investigating the possibility that a tornado swept through the Fort St. John area in northern B.C.

Meteorologist Doug Lundquist says the powerful system started above the wildfires in the Interior last week, on the same day much of the town of Lytton was destroyed by a fire.

Lundquist says the winds reached peaks of 110 kilometres per hour around Fort St. John on Wednesday, but it's unclear yet if a tornado was responsible for the damage.

Clarence Apsassin, who lives on the Blueberry River First Nation, is convinced it was a tornado because the sky turned black and he watched as a funnel cloud came down.

Apsassin says hail hammered down and he only had seconds to get into his house before the wind hit, lifting the roof and tearing off his garage.

He says the storm did a lot of damage to the area with outbuildings tossed around, roof tiles stripped and trees flattened.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2020.