Five things you need to know about Wednesday, July 9
Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 7:15 AM - Wondering what you missed overnight or what you can expect for the day ahead?
Here's your weather briefing for Wednesday, July 9.
1. EC confirms six tornadoes in Saskatchewan
The tornado count continues to rise after Saturday's severe weather outbreak across parts of the Prairies.
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On Tuesday, Environment Canada confirmed six tornadoes touched down during Saturday's severe storms in Saskatchewan.
The agency has only rated two of those twisters: An EF2 tornado that caused major damage to farm buildings near Outlook, Sask., and an EF0 that damaged a cemetery near Kenaston, Sask.
These six tornadoes represent a full third of Saskatchewan's annual average of 18.
The thunderstorm risk continues today, with the risk for isolated severe storms across the Alberta/Saskatchewan border.
2. Flood watch continues in Manitoba
Residents in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba are keeping a close eye on the Assiniboine River, which is expected to crest today in the city.
Officials have not yet decided if they will deliberately breach a dike at the Hoop and Holler bend near Portage la Prairie, but residents are hoping the dikes hold as they did in the city of Brandon last weekend.
According to Manitoba Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton, the next 48 hours will be crucial in determining if flooding gets worse.
3. Severe weather hits eastern Quebec
Early morning thunderstorms across eastern Quebec prompted tornado warnings before 1 am on Wednesday.
"A rotation in a thunderstorm near Disraeli in Eastern Townships has been detected on the radar," said Environment Canada in the warning. "Take cover immediately if threatening weather approaches."
Hydro crews say they're restoring power to tens of thousands of Quebec customers after strong winds from the overnight storms downed trees and powerlines.
À 6h00 ce matin, environ 36 000 clients sont privés d’électricité. Pour avoir un bilan par région : http://t.co/kNMjDVx0bB— Hydro-Québec (@hydroquebec) July 9, 2014
Gusty winds are expected to continue through the morning hours as the system continues to move through.
"Damage to buildings, such as to roof shingles and windows, may occur," EC warns.
4. Poor air quality due to forest fires in the Northwest Territories
Extreme drought and very little rain since the spring melt has resulted in over 160 forest fires across the Northwest Territories so far this year.
The fires have closed highways and parks and have prompted voluntary evacuations in some places.
SPECIAL REPORTS: Check the air quality in your area here
"Smoke from forest fires combined with hot conditions will continue over Southern Northwest Territories tonight giving reduced air quality," said Environment Canada in a special weather statement Wednesday morning. "Some relief will occur later today as a weather system brings cool and showery conditions to the Great Slave area."
Officials say the fires in the north are also to blame for a smoky haze that's been hanging over parts of the Prairies this week.
Air quality advisories have been issued for parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba as the smoke from the forest fires continue to sit over the provinces.
"Air quality sensors across the province are showing elevated particulate matter and reduced air quality this morning," said EC. "Children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems should take care. People in good health should consider reducing strenuous activities outdoors."
The smoke is forecast to continue to move eastward and become less dense throughout the day with air quality improving back to normal levels this afternoon, EC adds.
Satellite view of the prairies where you can clearly see the smoke spilling down into Saskatchewan from NWT. pic.twitter.com/jRUHbuqFkX— Kim MacDonald (@KMacTWN) July 9, 2014
5. A look at Ontario's weekend
Rainfall and severe thunderstorm warnings were issued in southern Ontario Tuesday morning, with downpours hitting the region during the afternoon hours.
Will conditions improve in time for the weekend?
"Overall, weekends across southern Ontario since Victoria Day have featured a lot of great weather, though there certainly have been some interruptions," says Weather Network meteorologist Doug Gillham. "The upcoming weekend will be more unsettled, but it will not be a total washout either. In fact, most of Saturday will be rain-free across the GTA.
Here's more from Dr. Doug Gillham: