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Funnel clouds may feature in Prairie skies, northern showers continue

Tuesday, July 14th 2020, 7:55 am - Though often mistaken for their tornadic cousins, funnel clouds are mostly harmless, though they may very occasionally touch down to form weak landspout tornadoes.

That persistent upper low in the northern Prairies will keep bringing rainfall to those areas through Wednesday, though its effects will stretch down south enough that southern Manitoba is likely to see a few showers as well. Storm risk for Tuesday is widespread from Saskatchewan through Manitoba to northern Ontario, but is expected to be scattered and non-severe, though people should be on the lookout for some funnel clouds. A closer look, below.


WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Non-severe storms possible Tuesday from Saskatchewan to northern Ontario
  • Funnel cloud sightings possible, likeliest in northern areas
  • Storm risk returns late week, with a warmup for the eastern Prairies
  • Keep an eye on weather ALERTS in your area

TUESDAY: NON-SEVERE STORM RISK, FUNNEL CLOUD POTENTIAL

The most remarkable feature people in the eastern Prairies may see Tuesday will be some funnel cloud risk, mostly in northern areas but with a slight, though non-zero, chance elsewhere in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and northwestern Ontario.

Though they can look like half-formed tornadoes, and are sometimes mistaken for their more destructive cousins, funnel clouds are a function of temperature differences between altitudes. With mostly seasonal and even slightly cool temperatures region-wide at ground level, and markedly cooler temperatures aloft, the differential eases the rise of warmer air, sometimes fast enough to produce some rotation. Despite their appearance, they are harmless, though the occasional one can touch down to form a short-lived and weak landspout tornado.

PR storm risk

Aside from that funnel cloud chance, the region may also see some non-severe thunderstorms spark up here and there, and any storms that do make an appearance will be marked by heavy local downpours.

That will boost the local totals from the widespread showers that will continue Tuesday into Wednesday for a large slice of the region. Though northern areas are most likely to see the heaviest totals, those showers will roam southward somewhat, such that Manitoba will get a few amounts as well.

Prairie rainfall

Temperature-wise, Tuesday looks fairly consistent across the Prairies, with widespread daytime highs in the low- to mid-20s in all three provinces.

LOOK AHEAD: HEAT FOR THE SOUTH, RISK OF RAIN FOR CENTRAL AND NORTHERN AREAS

The southern Prairies will remain mostly dry on Wednesday, but central and northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba still have some unsettled weather from that trough. Thunderstorm risk looks to return later in the week just east of the Rockies, with widespread rain and storms once again possible for the northern areas.

Western Alberta does have some risk of storms on Thursday, with a more significant threat for severe weather shifting to southern Saskatchewan Friday afternoon/evening, and into southern Manitoba Friday night.

Heat will return late week for southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba, while the unrelenting cool pattern continues to dominate in Alberta.

Check back for updates as the forecast evolves.

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