Remarkably, This Isn’t a Painting

Montréal on June 29, 2010

Photo credit: Denis Sobolj to

The weather here in Montréal last Monday was at once a frightening and beautiful sight to behold. This image, submitted to by Denis Sobolj (click on the image to go to the story at CBC News), doesn’t look real in some ways, yet it is. The best comment someone left on the CBC site, although possibly animated by anti-French sentiment, went along the lines that this cloud was looking for Kansas, but since all the signs around here are in French, it got lost.

Several funnel clouds were spotted and at least two touched ground on the West Island as F0 tornadoes — the weakest kind. And Tornwordo, who lives east in HoMa, posted another remarkable photo he took Monday afternoon (though it looks like evening). But here in Snowdon (or Uptown, or Upper Westmount, or whatever you want to call it), it wasn’t quite as dramatic in the afternoon, although it certainly rained heavily at one point.

I was working and did have to turn the light on, but clearly it was nothing like what nearby places in the area witnessed. Shortly after suppertime, however, things did take a rather dramatic turn. I was even compelled to step outside to the front of my building for a better look, and the rapidly moving whispy clouds under the solid dark blue black cloud rendered everything as surreal as on the image above. When it started to rain, I thought it best to get the heck back inside …just in case.

The Montréal area is no stranger to such wild weather we normally associate to the American tornado alley, although thankfully not as destructive. Two years ago, there was this waterspout in the St. Lawrence River, adjacent to the east end. And I remember some pretty nasty storms with tornadoes passing through and touching down in the suburbs early last summer.

After an overall cool and wet month of June here, about which I’m not complaining because we desperately needed the moisture, we’re about to start a typical continental summer hot spell in the coming days. It makes me wonder if it’ll also bring high humidity and the risk of more violent storms.