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Wildfire smoke could limit severe storm threat for the Prairies

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Andrea Bagley
Digital Reporter

Thursday, July 17, 2014, 9:42 AM - Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued for parts of northern Alberta and Saskatchewan Wednesday night as a cold front swept through the regions.

EXTENDED ACTIVE WEATHER COVERAGE: Tune in to The Weather Network for live updates on the summer storms in your area. Our team of reporters and meteorologists in the field provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date coverage.

The warnings were dropped close to 9 pm ET, after frequent lightning was reported.

"There's significant potential for more severe storms to develop in southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan this evening," says Weather Network meteorologist Brett Soderholm. "CAPE values are forecast to exceed 2000 J/kg, which when combined with significant shear and a mountain forcing, could produce supercells."

According to Soderholm, the possibility of a tornado can not be ruled out especially for regions along the Alberta/Saskatchewan border north of Medicine Hat.

"Similar unstable conditions are forecast for southeastern Manitoba on Friday as a front will be passing through in the evening hours."

In addition to the storm threat, air quality advisories remain in place for much of central/northern Alberta due to wildfire smoke. 

"Smoke is causing poor air quality and reducing visibility in Central and Northern Alberta," the statement reads. "These conditions are expected to be present for the next 24-48 hours."

SPECIAL REPORT: Check the air quality in your area

According to Dayna Vettese, another meteorologist at The Weather Network, the wildfire smoke could actually act as a limiting factor for severe storms.

"It can diminish surface heating," Vettese says.

Four things you need to know about Thursday, July 17
B.C. wildfire stats: Province spending $3.5 million a day to battle fires
Alberta wildfires prompt evacuations
Two more tornadoes confirmed in Quebec

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