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

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

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson kneels as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
UPDATED: Vancouver Island paddle boarder’s orca encounter brings joy and outrage

Woman’s ‘best day’ criticized for disturbing the whales

Tofino’s library is currently located in the basement of the Tofino Legion building but talks are underway to build a brand new facility. (Andrew Bailey photo)
The District of Tofino has put new restrictions in place around alcohol at public events. (Westerly file photo)
Tofino puts new restrictions on alcohol at public events

Town’s council adopts Municipal Alcohol Policy.

Gord John stands during question period in Ottawa in Sept. 2020. (PHOTO COURTESY CHRISTIAN DIOTTE, HOUSE OF COMMONS PHOTO SERVICES)
2020: A Year in Review with Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns

NDP MP wants to ‘build back better’ in 2021

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

The cost of potentially counting deer regionwide was among the issues that prompted Capital Regional District committee members to vote against pursuing a greater CRD role in deer management. (Black Press Media file photo)
Expanded deer management a non-starter for Greater Victoria

Capital Regional District committee maintains current level of support

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Aquaculture employee from Vancouver Island, Michelle, poses with a comment that she received on social media. Facebook group Women in Canadian Salmon Farming started an online campaign #enoughisenough to highlight the harassment they were facing online after debates about Discovery Islands fish farms intensified on social media. (Submitted photo)
Female aquaculture employees report online bullying, say divisive debate has turned sexist

Vancouver Island’s female aquaculture employees start #enoughisenough to address misogynistic comments aimed at them

Mowi Canada West’s Sheep Pass salmon farm, the company’s final B.C. operation to receive certification from the Aquaculture Steward Council. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is questioning a government decision to phase out salmon farms in the Discovery Islands. (Photo supplied by Mowi Canada West)
Canadian Federation of Agriculture backs B.C. salmon farmers

Letter to prime minister calls for federal “champion” for aquaculture growth

Most Read