Potent Prairie storm brings widespread heavy rain, potential for snow
Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 9:47 AM -
A large storm system is targeting the Prairies with up to 45 mm of rain expected in the hardest hit places through Thursday. There is the potential for locally higher rain totals northwest of Edmonton.
"The rain will mix with and possibly change to a period of wet snow, especially along the northern edge of the system," warns Weather Network meteorologist Doug Gillham.
"The expected rainfall totals over an extended period of time would not typically be problematic, but the combination of snowmelt, saturated ground and creeks and rivers that are already running quite high gives the potential for flooding with the rainfall that is expected," Gillham adds.
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The Government of Alberta issued a high streamflow advisory on Tuesday due to the risk of rising water levels and the likelihood of ice jams reforming.
A high streamflow advisory is issued when stream levels are rising or expected to rise rapidly and no major flooding is expected. Minor flooding in lowlying areas is possible.
"Anyone situated close to the streams affected is advised to be cautious of the rising levels," officials warn.
Rain developed over Alberta and Saskatchewan Tuesday night and will continue to spread into southern Manitoba on Wednesday.
"The precipitation will slowly diminish from west to east during Thursday into Thursday night," Gillham says, "but the precipitation may linger into Friday morning across southern Manitoba."
Wind gusts up to 80 km/h are also possible across all three Prairie provinces through Thursday.
"5-15 cm of snow is also expected for the higher elevations in the foothills and Rockies, with less than 5 cm for lower elevations," Gillham adds.
While minimal snowfall accumulations are expected for most of the region, if temperatures are a degree or two cooler in places such as Edmonton, then more significant snow totals are possible.