Edmonton, Calgary pounded with hail, rain during thunderstorm watches and warnings
Roads were flooded, fires were triggered and hail blanketed the ground like snow in some spots when wild weather on Tuesday struck central and southern Alberta.
Basements were drenched and motorists were trapped in their vehicles in southwest Calgary when afternoon thunderstorm activity unleashed heavy rain. Lightning struck trees and sparked fires in two houses, but there were no reports of injuries or significant damage to either home. People in and around Okotoks and Aldersyde, south of Calgary, had to deal with mounds of hail after the storm passed.
Heavy rain and hail also hit the Edmonton region, creating traffic snarls in a few areas.
Environment Canada issued severe thunderstorm watches and warnings for parts of south and central Alberta on Tuesday, warning that conditions were favourable for the development of severe storms in the late morning and afternoon.
The City of Edmonton was under a severe thunderstorm warning as of 2:15 p.m. Shortly after 5 p.m., the warning was dropped to a watch and later the watch was dropped as well.
It was possible for parts of southeast Edmonton to see up to 70 mm of rain Tuesday afternoon, Environment Canada said.
“At 3:20 p.m. MST Doppler RADAR indicated that this severe thunderstorm was located over east and northeast Edmonton,” stated the Environment Canada warning.
The storm was expected to track west in to the city.
“Nickel-sized hail and very heavy rain have been observed in east Edmonton. As of 3:20 p.m. MST, Doppler RADAR indicates the eastern part of the city may have received up to 70 mm of rain,” Environment Canada’s warning stated.
Hail was reported at Commonwealth Stadium at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The majority of central and southern Alberta remained under either a thunderstorm watch or thunderstorm warning Tuesday afternoon but by 10:30 p.m., only a few parts of southern Alberta remained under watches and no thunderstorm warnings were in effect in Alberta.
Environment Canada said “conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms this afternoon and this evening over portions of central Alberta.”
Calgary battered by summer storm
The City of Calgary was under a severe thunderstorm watch, which was upgraded to a warning at 3:15 p.m.
A brief but powerful storm eventually hit the city, keeping emergency crews extremely busy for several hours. The Calgary Fire Department said they responded to over 60 emergency calls, most of which were a direct result of the storm, within a two-hour period.
WATCH BELOW: Global’s Tony Tighe captured this footage of flooding in Calgary’s Woodbine neighbourhood.
A house in the area of Stranraer Place S.W. and Strathcona Drive SW was struck by lightning Tuesday afternoon. Pictures taken at around 4 p.m. showed smoke coming from the top of the home.
According to the Calgary Fire Department, a gas line had been damaged and was venting. Fire crews successfully kept the fire from spreading to neighbouring buildings and extinguished the fire in the attic.
Emergency crews were called for multiple reports of trees which had been truck by lightening.
Due to a heavy downpour, the southwest part of the city sustained sudden flooding on some roadways, trapping motorists in their cars and creating significant traffic delays.
By 5 p.m. the warning was dropped back to a watch for the City of Calgary. The watch was later dropped as well.
Severe thunderstorm warnings are issued when people in the area should be on the lookout for adverse weather conditions and take necessary safety precautions.
Severe thunderstorm watches are issued when atmospheric conditions are favourable for the development of thunderstorms that could produce large hail, damaging winds or torrential rainfall.
Watch below: Global viewer Zach Terlier sent in this footage of flooding at Macleod Trail and Canyon Meadows Drive.
According to Environment Canada, an unstable air mass is in place over much of the province, and thunderstorms are ongoing in parts of southern Alberta.
“Some of these thunderstorms have the potential to become severe with hail to the size of quarters and rainfall in excess of 50 mm the main threats.”
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With files from CHQR and The Canadian Press
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