The default weather app on iPhones was showing a tornado in Courtenay on Monday, Jan. 27. Environment Canada assured The Record no such phenomenon occurred. Photo by Jeannie Spencer

Was there a tornado on Vancouver Island Monday?

Suspected phone app glitch gives eerie warning

Was there a tornado in Courtenay on Monday?

If you have an iPhone, your weather app may have indicated as much, but according to Environment Canada, there was no such phenomenon.

The notice on Richard Spencer’s iPhone was enough to raise a few eyebrows, though.

“It was incredibly strange to see that symbol attached to the Courtenay weather,” said Richard’s wife, Jeannie. “It really blew our minds when we saw it on the phone.”

Their daughter, Gelena, pointed it out to them.

“It was my 10-year-old daughter who brought me the phone and said ‘mommy look at this; there’s a tornado.’ It was crazy.”

While Apple and the Weather Channel (the website associated with the default iPhone app) did not immediately answer interview requests, Armel Castellan from Environment Canada said there was no tornado in the area.

“We had gusts to 59 kilometres per hour at 5 p.m., so in a way I am not surprised that the app would show as windy type of symbol, but it just went overboard… obviously a tornado, even an EF-0, would have much higher winds than that,” he said. “We did see a steady 50 kilometres an hour, gusting at times to 60 kilometres an hour, so it was definitely windy.”

Castellan said that while they are rare, funnel clouds can be seen from time to time along the Georgia Strait.

“I’m 99 per cent sure there has never been a tornado [in the Courtenay area] but actually, just a few weeks ago, there was one on the Oregon coast – that was a water spout – and then just over a year ago, Washington state had a tornado categorized as an EF-1… so it’s not impossible, particularly with climate change… it’s not out of the element of possibility,” he said. “We have seen them very close to the Vancouver Island regions recently.”

Castellan said Environment Canada has its own app, available through weather.gc.ca

“It’s still in phase one, so it’s still improving, but so far we are getting a lot of really good feedback,” he said of the app. “It has push notification elements to it, so any time there are alerts to the area you are interested in … if a weather watch or advisory pops up, it will push [a notification] to your phone. So it will prompt you that something high-impact is happening, or about to happen.”

ALSO: Storm causes power outages across Vancouver island



terry.farrell@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Weather

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria to see extra ships after cruise company cancels Asia tour in wake of COVID-19

Coronovirus fears cause Celebrity Cruises to head west early

Sooke school superintendent says student safety a paramount concern

“We always want to make sure our students and staff feel safe,”… Continue reading

Roll of EI recipients in Greater Victoria stagnates

Statistics Canada says 2,140 people received EI benefits in December 2019, just as in November

UPDATED: Indigenous youth occupy B.C. Legislature steps amidst court injunction

Police negotiating with people gathered in support of some of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Saanich councillor asks District to stand in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en

Coun. Nathalie Chambers duplicates ‘tried and true motion’ passed by Victoria in January

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

Most Read