The 1907 Vermilion Tornado
Tornadoes are not a rare occurrence in Alberta. While the United States has the most tornadoes by far, Canada is second in the world. Within Canada, Alberta and Saskatchewan tend to have the most, with 14 to 20 each year.
Vermilion has seen a few tornadoes in its history, but I am going to talk about the first tornado, recorded that is, to hit the area.
It was on Aug. 14, 1907 when a tornado, or cyclone as it was called then, hit near the Battle River south of Vermilion. The tornado did have a rating as they were not used then but it is likely it was at least an F1 or F2.
Only one inhabited place was hit and that was the ranch of Henry Meyer and his family. He was a well-known horseman in the area. When the tornado hit, Meyer, a hired man and his oldest child were some distance from the ranch.
At the ranch was his wife and four other children, including a baby that was four months old. Mrs. Meyer was engaged in baking when the tornado hit the house.
Three of the children ran from the house when the tornado hit and it did not take long for the twister to overtake them. All three children were hit by flying debris from the house, mostly boards. Two of the children were killed instantly, while a third was badly injured. All three of the children killed in the tornado were daughters, Emerald, Ruby and Pearl.
The hired man made haste to Vermilion to get help for the children.
Amazingly, Mrs. Meyer and her baby were able to make a miraculous escape despite the building they were in being completely demolished.
Also destroyed was the barn where one horse was killed.
Witnesses who saw the tornado from a distance said that the cloud took the form of a funnel-shaped pillar that was quite narrow.
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