Prairies: Wind damage, risk of 'significant severe storms'
Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 9:46 AM - Tornado warned storms dominated the weekend across the Prairies, followed by heavy rain and damaging winds to kick off the work week in Alberta. Eyes are now on a unique risk that could develop this week and the potential for "significant severe weather" by Thursday. More on that, below.
(Share your weather: | Only when safe to do so, UPLOAD photos and video to our gallery)
- Wind warnings drop across Alberta after peak gusts topping 100 km/h on Monday
- A weak disturbance pushes into southern Manitoba on Tuesday, likely triggering thunderstorms once again (mostly non-severe)
- Thursday shows greatest potential for severe thunderstorms with threat for rotating supercells for eastern Saskatchewan, western Manitoba
DAMAGING WINDS, HEAVY RAIN
On Monday, the atmosphere largely took a hiatus compared to the volatile weekend, though a low pressure system has been bringing heavy rain and damaging winds to much of central Alberta.
Between Sunday and Monday, Slave Lake, Alberta has seen over 100 mm of rain with an additional 15-30 mm possible through Wednesday. Many other communities in northern Alberta have also surpassed the 50 mm mark, including Edmonton, although it is tapering for areas south of the city.
"In addition, winds will be anomalously strong on Tuesday from Grande Prairie to Saskatoon with wind gusts of up to 90 km/h possible before gradually calming through the evening and overnight hours," 'says Weather Network meteorologist Brett Soderholm.
In Bellshill, Alberta, a peak wind gust of 102 km/h has already been reported, while places like Slave Lake and even Edmonton International Airport have seen gusts just over 90 km/h.
Winds lift trampoline in Sherwood Park, Alberta. Photo courtesy: Cory Myrick
THURSDAY STORM THREAT LOOKS SEVERE
Looking ahead, a more active week beckons.
A potent thunderstorm trigger develops from the Pacific Northwest on Wednesday, which migrates into Saskatchewan by Thursday, initiating a surface low pressure system.
"We're especially concerned for the threat for strong to severe storms late Thursday into Thursday night and this does include the threat for rotating super cells (possibly tornadoes) for southeastern Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba," says Weather Network meteorologist Dr. Doug Gillham. "The threat for active weather then spreads into Manitoba for Friday becoming quieter as we head into the weekend."
But, that's not all we have to keep an eye on. The atmosphere is showing some potential to spark off cold-core funnel clouds, with a sharp upper trough hanging out over the Prairies the next few days.
Want to see more why it might be possible? We can track the upper low (and the spin) using sophisticated weather models:
WHAT IS A COLD CORE FUNNEL?
They tend to develop in a high shear environment, and are fueled by an updraft in a developing thunderstorm. Vorticity or spin in the atmosphere is also a normally required ingredient, which is often supplied by an upper level low pressure system. Some low level convergence can also can aid in the development of these, which can occur along a frontal boundary or lake-breeze, for example. But don't fear, they'll usually short-lived and weak, and also rarely touch the ground. If they do touch the ground, they'll likely do little damage.