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Severe storms fire up in the Prairies

Andrea Stockton, staff writer

June 24, 2011 — Severe thunderstorms firing up across the Prairies have brought everything from heavy rain and strong winds to large hail and tornadic activity.

Dark, ominous clouds rolled into the Prairies on Thursday
Dark, ominous clouds rolled into the Prairies on Thursday

A widespread thunderstorm risk has been persistent across the Prairies this week. A moist, unstable airmass has brought localized flooding and even tornadic activity to some places.

On Thursday night, an intense line of storms tracked across southern Saskatchewan prompting a tornado warning in the Shaunavon area. Some of the cells produced signs of rotation, and the warning remained in place for about 40 minutes. Environmant Canada has not yet confirmed a twister there.

There are reports however, that a tornado touched down in Fox Valley, a rural community in southwestern Saskatchewan. There was roof and wall damage to a local hardware store, but luckily no injuries have been reported.

Officials urge residents to treat all funnel clouds and tornadoes seriously. If one develops nearby, take shelter underground or in a reinforced structure like a bathroom or interior closet.

Strong winds and heavy downpours affected parts of Alberta as well on Thursday. Large hail was also reported in areas including Vegreville and Stettler.

The sky looked haunting over Sylvan Lake, Alberta Thursday
The sky looked haunting over Sylvan Lake, Alberta Thursday

The thunderstorm risk continued on Friday with the chance for more heavy rain once again. At one point, a tornado watch was in place for parts of northern Saskatchewan, due to the risk of cold core funnel clouds and weak tornadoes.

The risk of thunderstorms continues to have flooded communities in Saskatchewan on high alert. Officials say any additional rainfall at this point is problematic as water levels remain extremely high.

A dike breach last weekend completely submerged the small village of Roche Percee and 26 cities have declared a local state of emergency.

For a closer look at the weather in your area, head to the Canadian Cities Index. You can also check out the 2011 Summer Outlook to find out what you can expect this season.

With files from Lyndsay Morrison

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