Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 09/14/2014

Photo taken on August 28, 2014

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Panasonic DMC-FZ200
Anne Elliott
southern Alberta
rural scene
after the storm
grain elevator

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Skiff Elevator, after the storm

Skiff Elevator, after the storm
Skiff is a hamlet in southern Alberta. Before friends, Cathy and Terry, and I, set out on a three-day trip to Waterton Lakes National Park (26, 27 and 28 August 2014), I had discovered that we would be quite near to Skiff and its old grain elevator. I had mentioned this to my friends, asking if a quick stop to get a couple of shots might be possible if we had time. However, little did we know that we would end up having to stop in Skiff anyway, as Skiff was the closest place for us to get to after we got caught in a severe storm. We stopped at some kind of machinery warehouse to ask something and one of the workers said that he had never seen a storm like this one! A couple of minutes away, we found the beautiful, old elevator. You could still feel the tail end of the storm, with very strong winds blowing, barely letting me open my car door and walk with great difficulty to get my photos. I was surprised that my photos came out at all, I was being blown so much off balance.

The weather forecast that I saw before we left Calgary said that we were in for three beautiful days of sunshine. So, luck was on our side, giving us warm, sunny days - until the BIG STORM hit! We had driven eastwards from Waterton, hoping to see Yellow-bellied Marmots and, if we were really lucky, a Burrowing Owl. The storm was approaching very fast, around 5:00 p.m. just before we started our return trip to Calgary. It was like nothing I had ever seen before - a menacing cloud that was travelling fast and furious. I have recently posted a couple of photos of the storm. Despite trying our best to get away from it, it eventually engulfed our car, surrounding us with more or less zero visibility, pounding hail, thunder and lightning, and tremendously strong winds. There was nothing to do but sit tight in the car, hoping that the hail would not break the car windows and that this severe thunderstorm would not develop into a tornado! This storm was very scary, but at the same time, "exciting" (only because all turned out OK in the end!). Fortunately, we weren't caught in the very centre of it. Our road trip sure went out with a bang! Later, I contacted the Alberta Tornado Watch and posted a photo for them to see. They said the storm that happened that day was a mesocyclone.

This elevator is the sole remaining elevator in Skiff and, though now wearing Parrish & Heimbecker colours, may well have been an Alberta Wheat Pool elevator originally. If so, it was built in 1929 with a 40,000 bushel capacity. The annexes were added in 1948 (East) and in 1952 (West). The larger one is on the east side. The elevator appears to still be in use. There is very little information online about it, unfortunately.