Vehicles were tossed like toys and trees uprooted when a major weather system spawned tornados as it passed through southern Alberta on Saturday.
There were no injuries reported but the experience was terrifying for residents of small towns, including Cremona, about 65 kilometres northwest of Calgary.Diana Satchwell had taken a break from cutting grass when she noticed dark clouds approaching and a funnel cloud forming.
"And I just got downstairs when I heard a big bomb, and I thought 'I wonder if all my windows went,'" Satchwell told CBC News. "And it was the roof coming off the house, torn right off and thrown 25 metres away up a hill."
Within hours dozens of neighbours arrived to help start to help Satchwell clear the debris from damaged outbuildings and a battered cattle trailer.
"We have to be thankful no one was hurt," Satchwell said, "but [it's]
just one big mess, that's for sure."
Allen Graham, a neighbour, said he saw the tornado touch down.
"It sounds like a diesel train," he said. "It's coming for you — it's just a terrible roar, that's the first thing I noticed. Then I looked up into the sky and I could see her touch."
Lorne Thompson and his wife were cruising toward British Columbia to begin a two-week vacation when a tornado picked up their vehicle.
"It flipped us into the hay field here and I thought we were OK," Thompson recalled. "And then it hit us again and flipped us around and twisted us the other way — facing back north."
Thompson said he and his wife were bruised and shaken in the incident, but otherwise unharmed.
The storm, which also brought a period of heavy rain to Calgary, came on the heels of a storm that dropped baseball-sized hail on Cardston, southwest of Lethbridge on Friday.