Work Smart. Work Safe.
Keep your "Heads Up" and work safe!

Remembering July 31, 1987

By Melissa Babcock

I was six years old. Living five hours north of Edmonton at the time, I was pretty far removed from the events of that day. But I still remember hearing about it and seeing photos of the destruction on the front page of the newspaper. I remember sitting on the floor of my living room in front of the TV, which my dad had turned to the news, as images of that massive funnel cloud flashed across the screen. I remember listening as the anchors soberly recapped the events of what would become known as Black Friday.

Probably the most famous shot of the Edmonton tornado. Source: Google images.

Probably the most famous shot of the Edmonton tornado.
Source: Google images.

Today marks 28 years since that day when an F4 tornado ripped through eastern Edmonton and Strathcona Country, killing 27 people and destroying more than 300 homes. The event remains one of Canada’s worst natural disasters and Edmontonians who lived through that storm were likely experiencing déjà vu last week, when our neighbors to the south in Calgary started seeing funnel clouds and spent a few hours under a tornado watch. Though a twister reportedly touched down briefly south of the city, thankfully no injuries were reported.

Once of several funnel clouds spotted over Calgary last week. Source: Google images.

Once of several funnel clouds spotted over Calgary last week.
Source: Google images.

Summer storms and threats of extreme weather are nothing new in Alberta and every year, I find myself wondering (and worrying) if we’re going to have a repeat of Black Friday. Especially when my coworker looks out the window at an impending thunderstorm and remarks that the sky looks a lot like it did on that infamous day. Which begs the question, how many of us would know what to do if a tornado hit? Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • During a tornado we are most at risk from flying debris, so get inside and seek shelter immediately.
  • The safest place to be is underground, so go straight to your basement, storm cellar or lowest level of your home.
  • If you don’t have a basement, head to an interior room without windows (a bathroom or closet).
  • Stay away from windows and doors.
  • High, wide-pan ceilings are more likely to collapse, so avoid places like shopping malls and gymnasiums.
  • If you are driving, do not attempt to out-run a tornado. Pull over and seek shelter in a nearby building. If there is none available, lay down in a ditch away from your vehicle.

Today’s somber anniversary is a time to remember the people who were lost that day, and a reminder that when it comes to something as unpredictable as the weather, you can never be too safe or too careful.

Sources:

http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/documents/PDF/Tornado-ShelterInPlace.pdf

http://globalnews.ca/news/2125672/what-to-do-during-a-tornado-warning/

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/black-friday

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmonton_tornado

No Responses to “Remembering July 31, 1987”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: