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PHOTOS: Thunderstorms drop welcomed rain on parts of drought-plagued Prairies

Tuesday, May 4th 2021, 11:30 pm - While Tuesday's rain wasn't nearly enough to reverse the drought, it was a sign of more widespread precipitation inbound for the Prairies late week.

Parts of Prairies saw some sorely needed and welcomed rain Tuesday, though was fairly localized and not nearly enough to make a significant dent in a growing drought problem that is considerably worse in some spots more than others.

A surface trough developed and slid down the Rockies Tuesday, bringing hit-and-miss rain and non-severe thunderstorms to areas along the foothills in Alberta.

Alberta lightning/Kyle Brittain Thunderstorms swept through parts of Alberta Tuesday. (Kyle Brittain)

There was enough instability along the boundary in the afternoon to set off non-severe thunderstorms along the foothills. While they were below warning criteria, there were reports of small hail with some of the storms, in addition to some much-needed rain in localized areas and lightning.

Not everyone saw rain, but 10-15 mm was forecast for areas along the foothills in Alberta, with 5-10 mm in more populated centres, as well as into extreme western Saskatchewan along the border.

Wednesday will see the thunderstorm risk shift the extreme southeast of Alberta, stretching into southwestern Saskatchewan. Again, any that to develop will be non-severe in nature, and may bring small hail and gusty winds.


The good news a late-week system will bring more widespread rainfall and significant mountain snow to Alberta and southern Saskatchewan. It's uncertain of how much is expected, but it won't likely be enough given the state of the dry conditions. May has a favourable pattern that could bring some much-needed precipitation, but drought conditions are expected to persist.

"The May pattern will be conducive to seeing much-needed rain, and possibly even some snow, across the region, but precipitation totals will not reverse the growing deficits across the region," says Dr. Doug Gillham, a meteorologist at The Weather Network, in the May outlook.

Below is a selection of visuals of the thunderstorms making the rounds on social media.

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