Tornadoes in southern Alberta, floods, tennis ball-sized hail hit Calgary

(CBC) – At least one tornado touched down in southeast Alberta on Saturday evening, as severe thunderstorms brought intense hail and flooding to Calgary and the surrounding area.

At 9:05 p.m. MT, a possible tornado was spotted 30 kilometres south of Brooks, moving north at 60 km/h, an emergency alert warned.

Earlier in the evening, the alert had cautioned that a tornado had been spotted near Taber, Barnwell and New Dayton. It was not immediately clear whether each tornado was a separate event, or the same funnel cloud. All tornado warnings for the region ended at around 9:30 p.m.

“This is a dangerous and potentially life-threatening situation…. If you hear a roaring sound or see a funnel cloud, swirling debris near the ground, flying debris, or any threatening weather approaching, take shelter immediately,” an Environment Canada warning had said.

Terri Lang, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said a tornado may also have touched down southeast of Calgary’s city limits at 7 p.m., but said as of mid-evening there were no reports of damage from any of the possible tornadoes.

In Calgary, torrential rain and intense hail hit the city, flooding many roads and damaging homes and cars.

Environment Canada said its meteorologists were tracking a cluster of severe thunderstorms at 6:47 p.m., stretching from Calgary to High River and moving north at 60 km/h.

“It’s hard to prepare for something like this.… We call it explosive development,” Lang said, adding that 48.7 millimetres of rain fell between 7 and 8 p.m.

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