July 14, 2020

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More storms coming for Westman

Meteorologist warns Westman residents to be prepared

As southwestern Manitobans clean up after a string of severe thunderstorms Sunday night, an Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologist said residents should brace themselves for more ahead because the overall pattern in the sky lingers into the week.

"The big picture yesterday was a low pressure system sitting in North Dakota and a frontal structure extending from that to southwestern Manitoba were the lifting mechanisms or the triggers for these storms," said warning preparedness meteorologist Natalie Hasell.

The trough caused by a front extending out from a low pressure system in North Dakota created a string of severe thunderstorms in southwestern Manitoba Sunday night. Residents should brace themselves for a repeat event tonight. (Submitted)

ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE CANADA

The trough caused by a front extending out from a low pressure system in North Dakota created a string of severe thunderstorms in southwestern Manitoba Sunday night. Residents should brace themselves for a repeat event tonight. (Submitted)

The system is very slow moving, which meant storms stuck around a long time or lines of storms travelled over the same areas. Torrential rainfall and hail were reported. One tornado hit three miles southeast of Rapid City.

There is great potential for more of the same into the week, beginning again late Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning, with showers Tuesday and Wednesday. The greater risk is in southwestern Manitoba.

"Not huge amounts of precipitation (Tuesday and Wednesday), but considering how much you’ve already gotten, this will be a problem," said Hasell.

"If you are in an area that did not get significant precipitation, check your sump pump. Take that opportunity now to make sure that there isn’t anything wrong with the failsafes that you have in place. Check your roof, check your shingles."

She said there isn’t much people in the areas who have already seen a lot rainfall can do at this point for tonight’s possible onslaught.

Hasell strongly suggests going to Environment Canada's warm season weather hazards page to plan and prepare.

"We’re nowhere near out of it," she said.

People should remember it’s only late June.

"All of July is active usually. A lot of August is active. Even into September and sometimes October. Being prepared now will put you in good stead for the rest of the sseason," Hasell said.

Downtown Brandon gets pelted with rain around 5 p.m. Sunday. As of Sunday evening, at 5:52 p.m, meteorologists from Environment Canada  warned about a line of thunderstorms that stretched from south of Elgin to just north of Dauphin Lake, traveling northeast at 25 kilometres an hour. (Kyle Darbyson/The Brandon Sun)

Downtown Brandon gets pelted with rain around 5 p.m. Sunday. As of Sunday evening, at 5:52 p.m, meteorologists from Environment Canada warned about a line of thunderstorms that stretched from south of Elgin to just north of Dauphin Lake, traveling northeast at 25 kilometres an hour. (Kyle Darbyson/The Brandon Sun)

Much of Southern Manitoba is also under a heat warning.

Hasell said more than 100,000 cloud-to-ground lightening strikes occurred in the area Sunday. Across Manitoba there were approximately 300,000 such strikes.

"That is more than Manitoba usually gets in one year," she said.

In terms of precipitation, the areas with the greatest rainfall were just to the west and northwest of Brandon, and not far from Dauphin. Environment Canada registered 156 mm at Oak River, 155 mm at Brandon airport, 153 mm at Minnedosa, 151 mm at Forrest, 135 mm at Rivers 120 mm at Alonsa and 115 mm at Newdale.

Those numbers are from actual measuring sites and Hasell said it’s possible some places without sites received more rain, while places just outside any one of the storms could have seen as little as 20 mm. Each storm along the line or trough was small and focused.

"They might be small but they’re really pretty powerful and frightening," Hasell said.

A broken tree lies in the Brandon Municipal Cemetery following Sunday's storm. On Monday morning several broken branches were visible scattered throughout the cemetery. (Matt Goerzen/The Brandon Sun)

A broken tree lies in the Brandon Municipal Cemetery following Sunday's storm. On Monday morning several broken branches were visible scattered throughout the cemetery. (Matt Goerzen/The Brandon Sun)

"We don’t have a count for how many storms, but we know the line more or less."

Environment and Climate Change Canada accepts reports and photos from people who have experienced severe weather events.

"We are still looking for more information," Hasell said.

Those with information or photos can call 1-800-239-0484 or email mbstorm@canada.ca

The department monitors the hashtag #mbstorm on Twitter.

 

» mletourneau@brandonsun.com

» Michele LeTourneau covers indigenous matters for The Brandon Sun under the Local Journalism Initiative, a federally funded program that supports the creation of original civic journalism.

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