(Jaime Snell/Facebook)

Parts of Vancouver Island experienced some rather strange weather this Sunday, and residents took to social media to share their encounters with it.

At around 1 p.m. on June 10th, Jaime Snell was at the Home Depot in Nanaimo with her friend Leah when they spotted a funnel cloud forming behind the store.

“We noticed it for about 5 min, I would say,” Snell told Victoria Buzz. She was able to take a quick video of the incident which has now been viewed over 19,000 times on Facebook.

Take a look: 

In Nanaimo B.C. around 1 ish June 10th I'm in front of Home Depot and this is behind it.

Posted by Jaime Snell on Sunday, June 10, 2018

 

According to Snell, the day was rife with odd weather, as they also experienced a hailstorm and a thunder/lightning show, topped off with some good old Vancouver Island rainfall.

Another Facebook user and island resident, Narissa Young, uploaded her experience with the hailstorm as she was driving down the Island highway just north of Qualicum. Her video has garnered over 52,000 views at the time this story was published.

Check it out: 

Holy crapoli! Island hwy north of Qualicum now. I’ll just wait a sec….

Posted by Narissa Young on Sunday, June 10, 2018

Explanation

As far as we know, the funnel cloud or waterspout that formed on Sunday did not cause any damage or harm, but this is not always the case.

According to Armel Castellan, Environment Canada’s regional meteorologist, this time of year can contain ideal conditions for the kind of deep instability in the lower levels of atmosphere required for waterspouts to form. For Sunday’s phenomenon, a Southeast breeze in Georgia Strait met with a Northwest flow, the convergence needed to trigger the ingredients of a funnel cloud to come together.

On the west coast, these types of clouds are uncommon and usually don’t cause much harm. There’s also no association between funnel clouds and tornados.

However, Environment Canada had issued a waterspout watch at 2 a.m. on Sunday night because of the associated risk posed by the accompanying thunderstorms.

“If you’re close to it [waterspout/cold core funnel cloud], some smaller scale damage could happen – it would be able to blow away loose things like fences and garbage cans – so be careful while witnessing something like that,” says Castellan.

“Be cognizant if you’re taking a video, but most importantly, lightning storms are pretty much your main danger at this time of year. We get up to 10 fatalities a year in Canada, and although they aren’t as common on the coast, it can happen so you wanna stay aware.”

So remember the old adage: ‘When thunder roars, go indoors!’

Lightning Safety Week

Coincidentally, this week happens to be Lightning Safety Week, according to Environment Canada.

Click here for more information about the dangers of lightning. This link also offers some answers to frequently asked questions about lightning.

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