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The May storm that brought almost 30 cm of snow to southern Alberta

Saturday, May 14th 2022, 6:15 am - On this day in weather history, Alberta was blasted with a spring snowstorm.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


On Wednesday, May 14, 1986, a snowstorm made its way through Calgary and southern Alberta. This was under a month before the start of summer.

It wasn't a friendly storm either — it would have been significant even during the winter months. The storm caused power lines to fall, created poor driving conditions, and closed schools.

The local highway maintenance crews needed support as they could not keep up with the unrelenting snow. Wind gusts reached 70 km/h, reducing visibility.

Some motorists abandoned their vehicles, making it even more difficult for drivers and snowplows.

The Calgary International Airport recorded 28 cm of snow. And on that day, all flights were grounded, leaving many people stranded.

The entire region was pretty much on pause until the storm stopped and the snow was cleared.

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Steve and Cindy Harris, a couple from Airdrie, a city under 40 km north of Calgary, remember the day clearly, and annually. Their daughter Stephanie was born very early on May 14.

The couple called 911 when they realized that their baby would likely be born before they could drive to the hospital. And they had no power or water.

Two ambulances were dispatched, one got stuck in the snow and the other made it home to deliver the baby.

Stephanie told Airdrie Today that “I’m just grateful my parents didn’t name me Snowy or something."

To learn more about Alberta's 1986 May snowstorm, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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Thumbnail: "Waskasoo Creek and Barrett Park, south of Ross Street." Courtesy of Red Deer Archives P5458

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