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Prairie thunderstorms power up


Low wall cloud hanging over a field in Drumheller, Alta.
Low wall cloud hanging over a field in Drumheller, Alta.

Jill Colton, staff writer

July 29, 2011 — Another round of severe cells are muscling their way across parts of the Prairies, resulting in severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings.

That's not snow, but hail on the ground in Airdrie, Alta.
That's not snow, but hail on the ground in Airdrie, Alta.

Severe thunderstorms are becoming a regular occurrence across the Prairies this summer. On Friday evening, intense weather once again revved up in southern and central Alberta.

Tornado warnings were in effect for several communities including Wheatland Co. near Rockyford and Rosebud, east of Strathmore.

Environment Canada confirmed that at 4:50 p.m. Doppler Radar spotted a severe thunderstorm roughly 30 km southwest of Drumheller. The storm moved quickly at 40 km/h but it failed to spawn a twister. However, other threats from the storm such as large hail and damaging winds were reported.

Lightning brightens the night in Estevan, SK.
Lightning brightens the night in Estevan, SK.

Severe thunderstorms also marched through the region. Watches were in place for the City of Calgary, Hanna, Cochrane, Drumheller and Red Deer.

Earlier Friday afternoon, followers to The Weather Network Twitter feed linked to hail video from Airdrie. It showed hail on the ground resembling snow. There were also reports of baseball-sized hailstones punching the ground in the same area.

Meanwhile, a line of thunderstorms also sparked up across south central Saskatchewan. Warnings were in place for several communities including Regina, Saskatoon and Estevan. Pea-sized hail was noted in Weyburn, while strong winds and heavy downpours charged across some other areas.

It's essential to take immediate safety precautions if severe weather erupts in your area. In the case of a tornado here are some safety tips:

  • Avoid windows.
  • Don't try and outrun a tornado.
  • Wait 30 minutes after last thunder.
  • Don't go outdoors, instead go to a basement or stairwell.

Conditions can change rapidly; stay up to date on what's happening in your area by watching The Weather Network. Local forecasts come up every 10 minutes on the 10s.

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