Alberta Foothills Weather

May 18

Lightning, Thunder, Hail, Finally!

A few little cells began to brew in the foothills southwest of Drayton Valley shortly after noon today and started moving quickly southeast in a strong northwesterly flow, so I went out for a look. The first little storm was already dying off before I got 5 miles from the house, but a big tower could be seen forming behind it, so I kept going west. By Spruceview things had cleared off enough to see the anvil, it was looking nice. Before I could get to Caroline, about 15 minutes west, it had started to gust out , building a shelf, and it’s insides were falling out. Grabbed a quick shot and headed back east. At 60mph, it kept it’s distance behind me for 10 miles to Raven where I stopped for another quick shot, but not quick enough. By the time I parked and got out, the core of dime sized hail and heavy rain was about a half mile away then the lightning started up. One minute later I was waiting to get back on the highway when the core rolled over. Instant whiteout and very close lightning for a few minutes till I got far enough east. Quite the lightning display all the way home, far from the front line, big forked cloud to ground bolts everywhere. Nice start to the season!

Spring thunderstorm west of Spruceview,AB - 2:11pm May18/2008
Spring thunderstorm east of Caroline,AB - 2:26pm May18/2008
Spring thunderstorm near Raven - 2:37pm May18/2008
West of Red Deer - May18/2008Carvel radar - 2:40pm May18/2008

10 Responses to “May 18”

  1. 1
    Kenny Says:

    Nice photos Pat! I love the first and 3rd ones the best! The first one shows off the nice anvil and the outside view from the storm, and the 3rd one reveals the beauty of the rain and hail core. I can’t wait until June comes, that’s when the real fun starts 🙂

  2. 2
    PrairieChaser Says:

    I watched this storm for nearly four hours until it died out N of Medicine Hat. Looks like you got to see a beauty of a storm!!! The speed it travelled was quite amazing. Can’t wait for some more of these brutes to brew up. When I went to bed around 11:30 pm there were what I believe to be the first Severe Thunderstorm Warnings for the Prairies in the SWern part of Saskatchewan. The season is just around the corner!!!

  3. 3
    Kenny Says:

    Yep, Severe Tstorm warnings for SW SK, our cell here yesterday should have been severe warned, it was stronger than the cell in SW SK. Our EC people suck for not issueing a watch or warning. Oh well, I just hope the almanac is right for our next big thunderstorm chance, they say June 4-7 strong squalls and all that stuff. Though they weren’t right for the May 8-11 severe thunderstorm one, I still think they should be right for the June 4-7. If not, I will never trust them again 🙂

  4. 4
    PrairieChaser Says:

    Yeah sometimes I have to wonder about EC. I hate to say this but I really wish we has a NOAA type organization in Canada. I really like how you can zoom in on a storm with their radars, track storm speeds and directions, storm report (geez we don’t even have storm reports!!) and they don’t seem to be afraid to issue a warning. EC seems to not care as much for the people truely into the weather. They mostly do their weather forecasting for the person that just wants to know what the weather is for the weekend. Maybe someday we’ll have a more indept weather forecast, but for now its just frustrating.

  5. 5
    PB Says:

    This cell was not severe, just a plain old thunderstorm. However, I have seen watches and warnings issued for a lot less.

    I also wonder about EnviroCan and why they hold so much back, but what can ya do?

    The radar data we get is beyond pathetic in this day and age.

    The first severe T-storm warning went up for a tiny little cell near Camrose a couple weeks ago.

  6. 6
    PB Says:

    Or was it just a watch? Can’t remember now!
    Old age setting in.

  7. 7
    Anthony Says:

    Nice pics Pat…..
    It may not have technically been severe but on the radar with the red and purple I too have seen them issue warnings for less than that. It hung in there for a few hrs.
    I too will add my protest about EC, but to be honest they have been gutted financially by budget cutbacks for almost 20 years. Now we have those nice little automatics you see along highways, and they give you info like its +15 with light snow in Pincher Creek. Why is that, well its because the wind is blowing 100 kmh and picking up dust and the auto station is thinking its driving snow. Gotta love those automatic pieces of junk!!!! Thats my rant.

  8. 8
    Kenny Says:

    Pat, it was just a watch. I have been noticing that our weather forecasters have been slacking off at times. I mean, just last year on the night of June 3rd or something around there, we were under a severe thunderstorm warning as a strong severe thunderstorm passed, the current conditions said ”Sunny with a few clouds, 24 degrees” I really don’t understand whats been happening with them.

  9. 9
    Kenny Says:

    Oh forgot to add, that was at 11:30 PM so it was completely dark out.

  10. 10
    Rampa Says:

    After reading your blog, I especially like this entry (May 18).

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