Storm season has kicked off with a bang. Last week saw a severe thunderstorm blow through the province, knocking out power and damaging property.
John Paul Cragg, warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada, says that there were three days of storms in the province. It began on Monday with storms in North Battleford and Prince Albert, before Tuesday saw a huge mass of thunderstorms which covered most of the southern half of the province, with lots of hail, at least one tornado outside of Moose Jaw, with reports of others. The storm concluded with a massive wind event on Wednesday.
Cragg says it’s difficult to gauge the damage at this point, because of the large number of reports coming in, and that in order to gauge what the storm did in the province they need the help of people. He encourages people to send photos to st...@ec.gc.ca in order to give Environment Canada a complete picture of what happens.
These storms are caused by high heat and humidity, with something like a low pressure system rolling into the area, Cragg explains.
“We need something called wind shear, a difference of wind speed in different layers in the atmosphere. We need something like a low pressure system or front to help kick things off and we need the heat and humidity. All these factors come into play to create thunderstorms.”
The storm also serves as a warning that people should be prepared in case of storms, and Cragg says that people need to keep an eye on weather watches in order to be prepared for potential events like the one last week. He says that Environment Canada tries to have watches about six hours before the event is expected to take place, with warnings within three hours.
“It’s important for people to look at our watches, look on the website to see if there’s a watch for that day. If we have, maintain vigilance outside, severe weather can occur at any moment.” He says that in the case of a severe thunderstorm, people need to be inside, and in the case of a tornado warning, people need to get in their basements to be safe.
With severe storms, people need to prepare for any eventuality, such as power outages, and Cragg says that Environment Canada has prepared a way to get people prepared themselves. Their website, getprepared.ca, gives tips on thing people can do in case of power outages or situations where food and water is hard to come by.
Cragg says it’s difficult to tell what kind of season it will be for storms in the province, but he adds that it has been an active start.