Moisture-amplified low to soak Alberta, Saskatchewan with extreme rainfall

·6 min read
Moisture-amplified low to soak Alberta, Saskatchewan with extreme rainfall
Moisture-amplified low to soak Alberta, Saskatchewan with extreme rainfall

The western Prairies is finally getting some help from Mother Nature this week to deal with an ongoing drought. When it rains, it pours, and it will be more than just an ordinary soaker for Alberta and Saskatchewan through mid-week. Extreme amounts are expected with 75-100+ mm possible, with some areas in Alberta potentially on the hook for up to 150 mm through Wednesday. Rainfall warnings are in effect, which brings the threat for localized flooding. The City of Calgary has declared a state of local emergency as a precaution. The rain is expected to intensify through the day on Tuesday. More on the timing and impacts expected, below.

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A potent low-pressure system that crossed the border on Monday will meander over the central Prairies for multiple days. Rainfall warnings are in effect in southern Alberta and central Saskatchewan.

The system will bring enormous amounts of rainfall over the next 24-48 hours to parts of southern Alberta and Saskatchewan, with locally 100+ mm not out of the question for some areas. The greatest rainfall totals likely targeting the southern Alberta foothills.


"A combination of a slow-moving system and upsloping winds will enhance rainfall totals to the foothills during this event, leading to the likelihood of rainfall totals exceeding 100 mm," warns Kelly Sonnenburg, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

A swath of rain will spread from the south to north across Alberta and Saskatchewan through Tuesday, bringing locally heavy rain at times.

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Calgary is forecast to receive 100 mm of rain with this system and Edmonton could see up to 50 mm. Forecasters recommend staying alert for the risk of flooding in some areas.

"Look to your municipality and the province of Alberta ( for the latest information and recommendations. Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads. Localized flooding in low-lying areas is possible. Watch for possible washouts near rivers, creeks and culverts," Environment Canada and Climate Change (ECCC) states in the rainfall warning issued for Calgary.

Flooding is likely but the infrastructure at risk will be smaller streams, tributaries and farmers’ fields, as well as localized streets. The chance of rivers overflowing and becoming widespread is generally low because of the current levels, so extensive damage isn’t anticipated.

Make sure your storm drains and gutters are clear of debris to minimize property impacts.

However, Calgary has declared a state of local emergency as a precaution.

According to local media, Mayor Jyoti Gondek says this will help emergency services should a need for evacuations come to fruition, but she doesn’t foresee that being required at the moment.


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Easterly winds will provide extra lift along the foothills on Tuesday to enhance rainfall totals further. A deformation zone, or axis of heavy precipitation, is forecast to bring near 100 mm to parts of central Saskatchewan, as well.

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There is still some uncertainty as to where the highest rainfall totals will end up, and some embedded thunderstorms within the system will also lead to additional rainfall totals.

Rain diminishes Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning for Alberta. Soaking rain will continue to extend from western Saskatchewan to northern Manitoba through Wednesday, and then easing off to scattered showers Thursday.

The system will send temperatures falling well below seasonal for the middle of June. After a seasonable weekend, daytime highs in Calgary will fall into the mid-teens through the middle of the week.


Cooler temperatures will allow hefty snowfall totals to fall at higher elevations, with high-elevation locations above 1,200 metres at risk of seeing accumulating snow for the duration of the storm.

The active pattern continues in the long range, especially across Alberta. A few more rounds of widespread showers and thunderstorms are likely starting this weekend and continuing through the middle of next week. This will be highly beneficial for replenishing the groundwater and potentially wiping out the drought for much of the region, but also a risk for flooding.


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A couple days of very hot weather will spread from west to east across the southern Prairies this weekend and into early next week. High temperatures will reach the low- to mid-30s across southern Saskatchewan on Saturday, across southern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba Sunday, then northwestern Ontario on Monday and possibly into Tuesday.

Stay tuned to The Weather Network for the latest updates on conditions across the Prairies.

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