A tornado was spotted northeast of Calgary on Friday, startling onlookers and touching off a brief emergency alert.

The tornado was seen at 5 p.m. near Three Hills, moving east at 50 km/h. Other communities in the tornado's path included Morrin and Rowley.

The alert was cancelled at 5:27 p.m.

"The thunderstorm is no longer capable of producing a tornado," Alberta Emergency officials said.

Stunning images and video of the tornado were captured by Albertans living in the area. 

Trina Luoma said she was unloading groceries on a farm more than a kilometre north of Three Hills when she noticed a funnel cloud. But it soon became something a lot more threatening.

"At first I thought there was a fire because it looked like a whole bunch of smoke.… It started in the fields, and the dirt was just getting taken up, and we watched it get bigger and bigger and go across the highway," she said.

"I know they can be dangerous, but it was beautiful at the same time."

Barn

A barn near Three Hills shows damage from the tornado. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Clare Stankievech said she watched the tornado touch the ground from her farm east of Three Hills.

"I've never seen anything like that before," she said.

"We have vicious thunderstorms that go through, but when I looked up from my yard and saw that, it put a new scare into a person. It's different than anything I'd ever seen."

Stankievech rushed to make sure everyone was safe, including the animals on the farm.

But the storm was over quickly. "We can see sunshine and blue sky."

No one hurt, says RCMP

Three Hills RCMP Const. Ron Clarke said when he got a warning call about the tornado he "basically looked out the window and saw it passing to the north."

Damage

A pile of debris on a farm near Three Hills following a tornado. (Mike Symington/CBC)

No one was hurt, and most of the damage was to one rural property, he said.

Neighbours said they came to check out the damage to the farm — including a barn that had lost its roof —  because the owners are away.

"It's very shocking, especially when it's so close to your house,"  said Don Wolff  "I'm still shaking, as I think half the town is actually."

Many people posted images on social media of the tornado looming behind homes and buildings.