Saskatchewan's first tornado of the season very likely touched down Tuesday night near Moose Jaw, as the province enters the busy season for tornadic activity.
Environment Canada is pouring through data to verify whether yesterday's event was, indeed, a tornado. Meteorologist Danielle Fingland said it was "very probable" that was the first one of the year.
Fingland said Saskatchewan's tornado season is beginning, with one or two typically happening this time of year.
"The season really ramps up around the end of June and the beginning of July," she said. "Typically Saskatchewan sees about 13 tornadoes on average a year. But of course, that can vary from year to year. We've seen seasons with two tornadoes, and then seasons with up to 35, 40 tornadoes in Saskatchewan."
There are four ingredients that constitute the atmosphere's likelihood of producing a twister, explained Fingland.
"You need very warm, moist air mass. You need what we call wind shear, so you have the changing of wind direction with height. You need a trigger, so something like a front or some sort of boundary to trigger thunderstorms in general. And some instability in the atmosphere."
Fingland said that would generally lead to a season with more storms.
"We have had a much wetter year this year, so how that helps is when the soil is more moist, less dry, that will help potentially feed more moisture into the thunderstorms. I can't say definitively, but in general, it does help that we have had a wetter season for storm season."
Meanwhile, a La Niña summer could hamper the amount of warmth that could fuel storm activity.
"Typically it's cooler in the summer for La Nina seasons. So that's working a little bit against it, I would say. But at the same time, depending on where the jet stream lines up, we can see more systems going through. It's hard to say right now how that is going to impact storm season."
The last tornado to touch down in the Estevan area was in August of 2020. It received a preliminary rating of an EF-0 (the lowest on the scale).
Fingland said to keep an eye on the forecast, listen for watches and warnings, and "keep an eye on the sky" as the likelihood for thunderstorms and tornadoes increases.