Rainfall warning and severe thunderstorm watch issued for Elk Valley

Environment Canada has issued a rainfall warning and a severe thunderstorm watch this morning for the Elk Valley.

  • Jun. 19, 2013 8:00 a.m.
A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued.

A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued.

Environment Canada has issued a rainfall warning and a severe thunderstorm watch this morning for the Elk Valley.

Rainfall amounts of between 40 and 60 mm are expected today, and the alert also warned that conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms this afternoon and evening.

The greatest impacts from these thunderstorms will be large and potentially destructive hail up to the size of baseballs, or even softballs.

These storms will also have the ability to produce damaging gusts of winds over 90 km/hr and a few tornadoes, although the highest tornado threat is in central and northern Montana. one or two of which could be long-lived and violent.

Baseball and softball-sized hail can be very destructive to crops, vehicles and even roofs on homes, as shingles are easily damaged. This size hail can also seriously injure or even kill exposed livestock. Any people caught without shelter can also be quite seriously injured.

While some scattered thunderstorms will be around to start off this morning, the main outbreak will not begin until the late afternoon or evening hours.

Though severe thunderstorms are not frequent across Montana and southern Canada in June, this is the best time of year for them to occur as jet stream energy shifts north for the summer. Still, this will be a particularly widespread and dangerous situation, the kind that usually happens only once or twice a year.

If you will be out and about, you will need to pay special attention to the weather.

Once thunderstorms develop this afternoon, they will strengthen quickly, and dangerous conditions could follow soon after.

A watch means that an area is being monitored for dangerous weather. A warning means that dangerous weather is imminent. When a warning is issued, there may be too little time to travel across town or across a county to escape the storm. The time to have a plan of action and move to the general vicinity of a storm shelter or safe area is when a watch is issued.

Check the Environment Canada website for updates.