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

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Environment Canada issued a severe thunderstorm watch for several regions of Alberta, including the city of Calgary, Saturday morning.  (Oseremen Irete/CBC - image credit)
Environment Canada issued a severe thunderstorm watch for several regions of Alberta, including the city of Calgary, Saturday morning. (Oseremen Irete/CBC - image credit)

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 watch — meaning conditions are favourable for the development of a thunderstorm — as of 6:49 p.m. for these areas:

  • Calgary.

  • Airdrie, Cochrane, Olds, Sundre.

  • Brooks, Strathmore, Vulcan.

  • Cypress Hills Provincial Park, Foremost.

  • Drumheller, Three Hills.

  • Lethbridge, Taber, Milk River.

  • Medicine Hat, Bow Island, Suffield.

  • Okotoks, High River, Claresholm.

  • Red Deer, Ponoka, Innisfail, Stettler.

  • Rocky Mountain House, Caroline.

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

Around 7 p.m., Environment Canada issued a severe thunderstorm warning — meaning conditions are favourable for the development of thunderstorms that could also produce large hail, damaging winds or torrential rainfall — for Hanna, Coronation, Oyen, Okotoks, High River and Claresholm.

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On Friday the City of Calgary rescinded its state of local emergency, which had gone into effect on Monday, as the city braced for significant rainfall.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

Mike Symington/CBC
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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