Severe storm, tornado warning in northeast Alberta Saturday evening

Residents of northeastern Alberta are cleaning up after a storm with heavy winds and rain prompted tornado warnings Saturday evening.

Environment Canada issued a tornado warning Saturday evening after 5:20 p.m. as a “very dangerous” storm system moved through Lac La Biche County. An Alberta Emergency Alert was also issued to residents in the area shortly after.

TORNADO WARNING from Environment Canada: https://t.co/roM50LLlGs #abstorm pic.twitter.com/nwXvSxuB8a

— CTV - David Spence (@CTVdavidspence) July 11, 2021

Alerts remained in place until about 8 p.m. for Lac La Biche County, including Heart Lake, Lakeland Provincial Park, Plamondon Hylo, Avenir, and Square Lake.

Environment Canada has not officially confirmed if a tornado touched down Saturday evening.

RCMP told CTV News Edmonton that they responded to Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park and Beaver Lake Provincial Campground alongside Alberta Parks officials, Fish and Wildlife, Lac La Biche Fire, and EMS to assist campers affected by downed trees and debris.

Emergency crews confirmed no one was missing and aided in evacuating some campsites. 

Emergency crews had to clear some access roads after the storm in Lac La Biche County Saturday evening (Courtesy: Garnett Lett)

Fish and Wildlife ensured boaters had returned to shore safely and conducted a precautionary sweep of the lake to ensure no one was in distress.

No injuries were reported to RCMP as of Sunday afternoon.

Alberta Parks officials continued to cleanup paths and remove debris blocking roads in the parks on Sunday.

A downed tree seen Sunday after the storm in Lac La Biche County Saturday evening (Courtesy: Garnett Lett)

ONE FOR THE HISTORY BOOKS

Dan Geran, assistant golf professional and general manager at Lac La Biche Golf and Country Club, told CTV News Edmonton that the storm was intense.

“It came through about 6 p.m. or so, really quickly,” Geran said. “It came through really hard.”

The golf course had just finished up a tournament, which was incredibly lucky timing, Geran said.

“There would’ve been around 100 people at that point,” he added. “We managed to get everyone off the course, except four people. They managed to hide out. I don’t know where they hid, pretty hard to hide from that one.”

Dozens of trees littered Lac La Biche Golf and Country Club after the storm (Courtesy: Dan Geran)

He said dozens of trees littered the golf course after the storm. The course had to close down on Sunday and asked the community to assist clearing trees off the greens. About 80 volunteers showed up to help.

“There was no real choice but to close the course,” Geran said. “Paths were blocked off and you couldn’t get by.

“It’s a nice thing to see,” he added. “It’s kind of emotional when that many people come together, offering their skills and time to help.”

According to Geran, local golfers will forever remember the Saturday evening storm as it forever changed the first hole of the golf course.

“We had a giant tree, kind of right in the middle of the hole. A lot of golfers didn’t like it. We joked for years of getting rid of it,” Geran said, as he laughed. “It’s now gone.

“We aren’t going to forget it. That tree has been there a long time. I bet you a few golf balls came down with it.”

Photo of the tree at the first hole of Lac La Biche Golf and Country Club (Courtesy: Dan Geran)