Latest articles

There are extreme rains, and then the deluge caused by Harvey

Some parts of Texas received more rain in 24 hours than 
Prairie centres have seen in their wettest-ever month

As fairly quiet weather continues across the Prairies, the big weather story recently has been Hurricane Harvey, which came ashore in Texas late on Aug. 26. Harvey rapidly strengthened in the 12-hour period leading up to landfall and came ashore as a borderline Category 4 hurricane, with top winds of 210 kilometres per hour. It wasn’t […] Read more

The physics of lightning and why ‘if it roars, go indoors’ is good advice

Tornadoes, wind, and hail grab the headlines but it’s lightning 
that typically poses the biggest danger

To wrap up our look at severe thunderstorms, we’re going to revisit how lightning is thought to form and then take a look at some lightning facts and safety tips. Tornadoes, wind, and hail often make the headlines when it comes to thunderstorms, but it is lightning that is often the biggest threat. For this […] Read more

Diving a little deeper into summer weather and tornadoes

Tornadoes are nearly impossible to study but we do know a lot 
about the mechanics of how they form

In this instalment, we’ll continue our look at severe thunderstorms, and specifically, the most deadly part — tornadoes. While eastern parts of the Prairies have only seen a few isolated severe thunderstorms, parts of Saskatchewan and Alberta have already seen their fair share. I think most Canadians were more than impressed, and maybe a little bit […] Read more

Tornado season is upon us — here’s what to watch for

The area between the storm and cloud, clouds with bags hanging from them, and the wind are keys in spotting the danger

So far in our look at severe summer weather, and in particular thunderstorms, we have looked at how thunderstorms form, how they can grow into severe thunderstorms, and finally, how hail is produced. Next up on the severe thunderstorm list is tornadoes! Before we begin our look at tornadoes though, I think we have to […] Read more

Cooking up thunderstorms with Mother Nature

Severe thunderstorms are a fascinating phenomena and you need 
the right conditions to come together

Thunderstorm season isn’t too far off so we’ll continue our annual look at what is arguably one of the most fascinating weather phenomena we see in our part of the world. I always like to begin our look at thunderstorms by touching upon one of my biggest weather pet peeves, which is when people mix […] Read more

April didn’t bring much joy — and Alberta had the worst of it

Statistically, it wasn’t absolutely miserable but a dry stretch and a 
return to average temperatures would be most welcome this spring

Another month has come and gone, and depending on where you live it was either a near-average April or you were cold and wet. Listening to the general talk about April’s weather, you would probably come to the conclusion that most areas across the Prairies had a miserable month. But in reality, most places experienced […] Read more

Weather school is back in session — here are the basics of thunderstorms

How does solar energy result in thunderstorms? 
The answer lies with conduction, convection, and latent heat

With temperatures slowly starting to heat up across the Prairies, thoughts turn towards summer and summer weather, and in my case, I begin thinking about thunderstorms. After a very active summer last year, I thought it might be time to look at this topic again. I also thought it would be a good idea to take […] Read more

Springtime can be the ‘right time’ for really big snowstorms

When a buildup of warm, moist air from the south collides with 
cold arctic air, your snowblower can get a real workout

With spring officially here, the last thing most people want to hear about is snow. But the way this winter and spring have been going, who knows? Springtime across the Prairies tends to bring some of the biggest snowfalls of the year. Several years ago I dug into this topic, but I figured it was time […] Read more

Warm weather wins out in this crazy up-and-down winter

The recipe was simple but unusual: Send in warm weather, 
then a big blast of cold, and repeat all winter long

From a climatological point of view, winter is now over. The 12-month year is broken into four equally long seasons, with winter covering December, January, and February. From a southern and central Alberta view, there is still one month to go. For most of the Canadian Prairies, winter starts in November and usually ends in March. In some […] Read more

Doubt about global warming isn’t coming from scientists

It’s not hard to create doubt about sound science — 
the tobacco industry proved that years ago

Several years ago, Weather Underground’s co-founder Jeff Masters wrote a blog about the manufactured doubt industry, how and when it was created, and how it now plays into the current global warming or climate change controversy. At the time I emailed Masters asking permission to use some of the information from his blog in an […] Read more