Alberta Foothills Weather

August activity

The longer I wait the more I forget, better make a note of the August goodies around the neighborhood before 2014 arrives.
Not a lot to remember this year from the Alberta storm season, other than the hail. Or perhaps you live in Lethbridge.
One, maybe two tornadoes, a few nice supercells here and there, but a rather strange season all in all.
Plenty of storm action for both Edmonton and Calgary, more storms than normal south of Calgary, and only a few gooders in the alley from Sundre to Rocky Mountain House. Very little hail damage that I know of in the places it often piles up the worst.
Seemingly endless northwest flow off the foothills kept the storms mostly pinned to the hills and headed south, belching out northwest or west of Calgary. The crops around here look fantastic because of it.
Still got some good miles in, but I can’t remember a year when I failed to get a camera out of the bag on so many trips. More times than I like, a tour wound up with an early u turn and return to base. I guess it’s a price you pay when you move to the fishbowl that is life in the city and can see nothing but up.

Twitter was abuzz on August 4 with photos of a neat funnel hanging out of a rather unspectacular cloud somewhere around Eckville, so went out to get a treat and see if anything would try as it came over Red Deer. No sooner had we gotten out of city limits to the east, and a tiny little funnel poked out for us to take it’s photo.
The next interesting cloud that passed by was late on Aug.11, zapping all over the place, but rarely where I was pointing the camera.

Tiny funnel cloud just east of Red Deer, AB - August 4, 2013Lignting over Lacombe, AB - August 11, 2013

August 13 was a nice day for a drive in the Alberta foothills. I had originally gone out to check on a storm that looked like it might take a run out of the hills toward Caroline, and while it looked pretty juicy from the north, it was diving well to the southeast by the time I got up to it. Without the Garrington bridge for a bailout option I decided not to risk a coring and headed out into the hills west of Cow Lake to see if the nice puffs billowing out there would turn into anything.
Eventually the south end cell wound itself up enough to develop a nice wall cloud, but finding a photo spot out there is a challenge, luckily it waited long enough to have it’s pic taken for me to find a view before it completely evaporated within half an hour. Smoke from fires in Washington state did not help in getting a clear shot, but still a nice trip.

August 13 Strathmore RADAR loop
Thunderheads over the Alberta foothills west of Rocky Mountain House, AB - August 13, 2013Wall cloud in the Alberta foothills west of Cow Lake, AB - August 13, 2013Thunderstorm with wall cloud southwest of Rocky Mountain House, AB - August 13, 2013

August 16 was a total bonus day.
A few small storms had been muttering around to the northwest and southwest, but didn’t look like they were going to get far. One started to look good around Rimbey, headed for the Red Deer area, so we went for a evening tour. It fell apart as soon as we got out north of Sylvan Lake and we thought that was the end of it, but no. A cell quickly blew up near Rocky Mountain House so we headed west for a look. As it headed east toward Eckville it started to look very nice very quickly, and before we knew it, we were almost under it. In flee mode to the south, it followed us south after a split, just as the hail plane arrived. We got to watch a classic supercell spin away for another half hour before it fell apart just west of Red Deer.

August 16 Strathmore RADAR loop
Low precip supercell west of Eckville, AB - August 16, 2013Low precip supercell west of Eckville, AB - August 16, 2013Supercell thunderstorm southwest of Eckville, AB - August 16, 2013
Supercell thunderstorm south of Eckville, AB - August 16, 2013Supercell thunderstorm near Benalto, AB - August 16, 2013Dying thunderstorm south of Sylvan Lake, AB - August 16, 2013
Supercell thunderstorm near Benalto, AB - August 16, 2013Next storm in line builds near Rocky Mountain House, AB - August 16, 2013

August 26 was one of those days when the photo cameras stayed in the bag. Did get the video camera out while I sat on Stauffer road for almost 1.5 hours watching a struggling cell southeast of Rocky Mountain House get pulled and pushed around before it finally fuzzed out.

That evening I headed out again to the north for a frustrating and mostly futile lightning chase.
Set up, get lightning in frame, then nothing, it has jumped 10 miles east. Chase east, set up, repeat. I finally grabbed a few shots from a high hill east of Lacombe as it ran away.

August 26 Strathmore RADAR loop
Lightning east of Ponoka, AB - August 26, 2013Lightning east of Ponoka, AB - August 26, 2013Lightning east of Ponoka, AB - August 26, 2013

The little nerdicle of a cell that produced the lightning on the 28th of August sure didn’t look like much on RADAR and we didn’t make a move until we could see flashes from within the city, it wasn’t that angry but did dish out some nice zots.
There was a lot more going on the next night, but the half hour that lightning was flashing over the city was spent trying to find the camera remote that I had misplaced the night before.

August 28 Strathmore RADAR loop
August 29 Strathmore RADAR loop
Lightning over south Red Deer, AB - August 28, 2013Lightning north of Red Deer, AB - August 29, 2013

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