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Survivors mark decade since campground tornado

In the dead stillness of the summer afternoon, Jamie Holtom is pulledback to the awful day 10 years ago when a tornado wrenched histwo-year-old son from his arms and took his boy’s life.

In the dead stillness of the summer afternoon, Jamie Holtom is pulled back to the awful day 10 years ago when a tornado wrenched his two-year-old son from his arms and took his boy’s life.

Today it will be exactly 10 years since the powerful twister crested the bluff overlooking the Green Acres campground at Pine Lake in central Alberta and swooped in, killing 12 people and injuring more than 100.

The youngest to perish was two-year-old Lucas Holtom, a red-headed heartbreaker and the firstborn of Jamie and Katrina.

“Hitting the 10th does bring it back a little bit. You cannot believe 10 years has flown by,” said Jamie in an interview from Brampton, Ont., where he works as a United Church minister.

The category F3 tornado carved a 20-kilometre path of destruction through the rolling green hills and water of Pine Lake, a 14-kilometre finger-shaped body of water.

The tornado was a freak of nature, a roiling mass of moist air and heat that came in contact with a rare stream of superheated air near the ground that acted like a centrifuge, pushing its winds to cyclonic speed, a floating bomb that drifted over a fuse.

 
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