Calgary among areas that could be hit with heavy rain, hail as thunderstorm watch issued

Rain is expected to continue in Alberta this weekend, with severe thunderstorm warnings and watches in effect for the city of Calgary, along with much of the province’s central and eastern portions.

Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued a severe thunderstorm warning — meaning thunderstorms that are imminent or already happening are likely to produce large hail, damaging winds and/or torrential rainfall — just after 9:30 a.m. for these areas:

  • Hanna, Coronation, Oyen.
  • Lloydminster, Wainwright, Vermilion, Provost.

A severe thunderstorm watch — which means conditions are favourable for the development of a thunderstorm — is in place for these areas:

  • City of Calgary.
  • Airdrie, Cochrane, Olds, Sundre.
  • Bonnyville, St. Paul. Cold Lake. Lac La Biche.
  • Brooks, Strathmore, Vulcan,
  • Drayton Valley, Devon,  Rimbey, Pigeon Lake.
  • Drumheller, Three Hills.
  • Fort Saskatchewan, Vegreville, Redwater, Smoky Lake.
  • Leduc, Camrose, Wetaskiwin, Tofield.
  • Lethbridge, Taber, Milk River.
  • Medicine Hat, Bow Island, Suffield.
  • Okotoks, High River, Claresholm.
  • Red Deer, Ponoka, Innisfail, Stettler.

The watches, issued around 7 a.m. Saturday, said thunderstorms will continue to develop later Saturday morning. Some of these thunderstorms could produce heavy rain, strong winds and large hail, Environment Canada said.

It warns that large hail can damage property and cause injury, and that strong wind gusts could toss loose objects, damage weak buildings, break branches off trees and overturn large vehicles.

“Remember, severe thunderstorms can produce tornadoes,” the alert read. 

“Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads. Lightning kills and injures Canadians every year. Remember, when thunder roars, go indoors.”

On Friday the City of Calgary rescinded its state of local emergency, which had gone into effect on Monday, as the city braced for significant rainfall.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek said Friday an approaching weather system was tracking farther south than originally anticipated.

Several days of rain, plus mountain snow melt runoff, had swollen the Bow and Elbow rivers in Calgary.

Although river levels are high, the risk of flooding in Calgary has passed for now, Gondek said, and the order is no longer needed.

Several days of rain, plus mountain snow melt runnoff has swollen the Bow and Elbow rivers in Calgary. (Mike Symington/CBC)

“We are still in the midst of flood season … please make sure you are staying safe,” she said.

Some provincial parks remain closed because of high water levels. The government continues to post updates on those here.

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