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'Husky' summer storms lash the Prairies


Hail accompanies these severe thunderstorms
Hail accompanies these severe thunderstorms

Andrea Stockton, staff writer

June 30, 2011 — Severe conditions could make for a stormy start to the Canada Day long weekend in parts of the Prairies and northern Ontario.

Frequent lightning reported in Alberta Wednesday
Frequent lightning reported in Alberta Wednesday

A low pressure system that developed in Alberta Wednesday is making for a stormy start to the long weekend in parts of the Prairies and northern Ontario.

“These are not the small piddly Prairie storms of the spring, but the real husky storms of summer that can do some damage,” says Chris Scott, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

The action began on Wednesday afternoon as a cold front moved through Alberta. Temperatures dropped by about 5 degrees and places like Edmonton began to see heavy rain and hail by the evening hours. Callers to The Weather Network Stormline said strong winds and frequent lightning persisted in the area.

“There were even funnel cloud reports outside of Edmonton as the thunderstorms rolled off the foothills and moved eastward,” says Brian Dillon, another meteorologist at The Weather Network.

Severe thunderstorm watches and warnings were issued in southern Saskatchewan through the overnight hours.

“Damaging winds gusting to 100 km/h and golf ball sized hail were reported,” notes Dillon.

Severe thunderstorm risk on Thursday
Severe thunderstorm risk on Thursday

By Thursday afternoon, the focus will begin to shift to Manitoba with the potential for severe thunderstorms as the humidity continues to build throughout the day. Environment Canada says humidex values are expected to reach around 40.

“All of the province, but especially central and southern zones and into extreme northwestern Ontario are at risk for severe storms,” says Scott.

He adds that the timing of these storms could become problematic because many people start their Canada Day long weekend early. People heading to cabins and lakes especially to the north and east of Winnipeg should be aware of the storm potential, says Scott.

The potential for severe weather is a black or white situation; either it'll happen, or it simply won't.

“We're watching the potential of some active weather across Manitoba this evening, especially along the border with north western Ontario,” explains Scott. “These could be fairly big storms if they develop.”

With files from Sana Ahmed

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