Sudden summer in parts of Western Canada spark thunderstorm, wildfire risks
A sudden summer has hit parts of Western Canada during this first week of May, as temperatures soar into the mid 20s, with the potential for a few sports to even reach 30°C.
Wildfire season is underway across British Columbia and Alberta, and already, fires are burning throughout parts of the region.
This week's warm and dry conditions will fuel concerns with the wildfires, along with a risk for thunderstorms, some of which could become severe in spots.
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Areas: Southern Interior of B.C., and Alberta foothills and the Elbow Valley
Timing: Afternoon and evening
Weather: If thunderstorms develop: Heavy downpours, dry lightning (concern for wildfires), small hail and gusty winds
Confidence: Isolated thunderstorms are forecast to develop in the regions listed above, but they are not expected to be widespread. There is slightly stronger storm dynamics in central areas of B.C. towards the Rockies, which could support one or two storms to turn severe. Confidence is low that storms will even develop Tuesday
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Wednesday to Friday
Areas: Central and southern Interior of B.C. towards the Rockies, and the foothills, central and western parts of Alberta
Confidence: Scattered, multi-day thunderstorms are forecast across the region. While it is too early to determine the strength and severity of these storms, the ignition of new wildfires is top of mind and a main concern over the coming days
Stay alert and monitor the forecast for updates. Have a plan and a place to head indoors if the weather changes.
Watches mean conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms. Warnings mean they are imminent or are occurring in your area.
In communities with elevated or high wildfire danger ratings, residents should take time now to review emergency preparedness and evacuation plans in the event of a nearby fire. Individuals and families should be prepared to take care of themselves for at least 72 hours in case of evacuation due to wildfires.
As the upper ridge breaks down across Western Canada, several mid-level troughs will swing through the region over the next several days leading to atmospheric triggers for thunderstorms to develop.
The heat will also still be present with temperatures in the upper 20s, which will allow for daytime heating and instability to build in the atmosphere.
Rising temperatures and dry conditions in Alberta will worsen the situation in the days and weeks ahead as the province moves into the peak of its wildfire season.
The fire danger rating is currently very high to extreme across a large section of southern Alberta, made more dangerous by gusty winds.