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

PHOTOS: Campbell River cheers on Wounded Warriors BC

Annual eight-day run raises money and awareness for mental health issues amongst service members

Campbell River Skating Club ready to welcome Patrick Chan

‘It’s an amazing opportunity, not only for the community, but especially for our skaters’

Campbell River’s Coldest Night of the Year 2020 another great success

Transition Society now turns its attention to its next fundraiser – a first for the organization

Get ready to Paint the Town Red for Rogers Hometown Hockey

Are you ready to Paint the Town Red, Campbell River? The City… Continue reading

Campbell River man who pulled a gun on off-duty police officer sentenced to two years in prison

Encounter also lead police to a home where 100 guns and explosives were found

Clothing, jewelry, purses: RCMP ask court about disposal of evidence in Robert Pickton case

Pickton was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murders of six women

Ryan nets hat trick in return as Senators beat Canucks 5-2

Ottawa winger received assistance for admitted alcohol problem

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs meet with provincial, federal ministers

Neither party speaking on the groundwork laid for tomorrow’s talks

Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Chief of staff to the B.C. speaker Alan Mullen says situation with demonstrators appears ‘fluid’

MPs to examine privacy implications of facial-recognition technology used by RCMP

The MPs will look at how the technology affects the privacy, security and safety of children

Dates back to 2009: Calgary police lay charges in fraud involving semi-trucks

Three people from Calgary are facing charges that include fraud over $5,000

Comox 442 Squadron carries out two sea rescue missions north of Vancouver Island

Submitted by Lt. Alexandra Hejduk Special to Black Press 442 Transport and… Continue reading

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Discussions with provincial and federal governments expected to start later today

Most Read