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

Just Posted

Oak Bay sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Glenn Wakefield’s rescue involved five airplanes and took more than 48 hours

Nanaimo RCMP shut down illegal racing and stunt driving site at Duke Point

Police “swoop in” to seize vehicles and issue violation tickets

First storm of the season expected to hit Vancouver Island tonight

Environment Canada has issued a storm warning with wind, and rain that could last into the weekend

RCMP: Trio arrested, firearms seized after report of shots fired in rural Qualicum Beach

Police say search also found evidence of large-scale drug operation

Sandstone project could transform southern face of Nanaimo

Seacliff Properties touting 3,000 homes, new commercial and industrial districts

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley seeks reelection

Routley has served as MLA for the area since 2005.

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

B.C. ELECTION: Island MLA Adam Olsen says NDP is sacrificing health for politics

Olsen acknowledges situation of a snap election is not ideal for BC Greens,

Babchuk nominated as NDP candidate

Seeks to replace outgoing MLA Claire Trevena

VicPD seeking help in recovering stolen scooter of B.C. Special Olympics athlete

The scooter was stolen from outside Hillside Mall on Sept.21

Survey to gauge interest in connecting Cowichan to Nanaimo by bus

People can fill out the survey until Oct. 16.

Most Read