Tornado watch briefly issued after waterspout sighted near Vancouver airport

Environment Canada issued a rare tornado watch for Metro Vancouver and the Howe Sound region Saturday evening.

It came as video posted on social media showed an apparent funnel cloud over the water near Vancouver International Airport.

In an email to CTV News Vancouver, a YVR spokesperson said a "weather event" near the airport caused aircraft to be directed into a holding pattern Saturday evening "out of an abundance of caution."

"All aircraft landed safely and airport operations were not affected," the spokesperson said.

Environment Canada's statement referenced the phenomenon, referring to it as a "waterspout" moving north toward West Vancouver and the mouth of Howe Sound, including Bowen Island.

"Current indications are that it is weakening but the atmospheric conditions are favourable for the development of waterspouts or weak funnel clouds over the next few hours," the weather agency said. "This is a dangerous and potentially life-threatening situation."

Environment Canada warned residents to "be prepared for severe weather" and "take cover immediately" if threatening weather approaches.

If a tornado is approaching, the agency's advice is to go indoors to a room on the lowest floor, away from outside walls and windows. That could mean a basement, bathroom, stairwell or interior closet, Environment Canada said.

"Leave mobile homes, vehicles, tents, trailers and other temporary or free-standing shelter, and move to a strong building if you can," the agency said. "As a last resort, lie in a low spot and protect your head from flying debris."

The tornado watch was issued at 5:30 p.m., but it lasted less than an hour. By 6:20, it had been removed from the public alerts section on the Environment Canada website

There is still a special weather statement in effect for several coastal regions of B.C., but it pertains to high winds expected Monday night, and does not mention any tornado risk. 

God damn this huge tornado��
On YVR airport…#Vancouver #tornado #metrovancouver

— ����lil.INV���� (@InvLil) November 7, 2021

Just witnessed a Tornado/Waterspout forming off the Straight of Georgia and blow right through us here at UBC. #Tornado #WaterSpout @CTVNewsVI

— CaptHustle (@capt_hustle) November 7, 2021