A month’s worth of rainfall in 48 hours expected in some parts of Alberta

People living in southern Alberta are being warned to prepare for a significant storm pushing into the area late Monday and continuing into early Wednesday.

The storm’s expected arrival has prompted Environment Canada to issue heavy rainfall warnings for a large swath of southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan.

“The heaviest-hit areas will be in southeastern Alberta with 50-70 millimetres of rain expected and pockets of 80 millimetres is possible,” Global Calgary chief meteorologist Tiffany Lizée says.

Below are the normal monthly rainfall amounts for May. All three cities are currently under a rainfall warning.

  • Lethbridge: 45 mm
  • Red Deer: 47 mm
  • Medicine Hat: 38 mm

The intensity of the storm has Environment Canada warning of the dangers of localized flooding.

“Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads,” the warning from Environment Canada says. “Localized flooding in low-lying areas is possible. Watch for possible washouts near rivers, creeks and culverts.”The heavy rain is also forecast to be accompanied by strong winds, with gusts up to 80 kilometres per hour expected on Tuesday.

Periods of heavy rain are also in the forecast for Calgary and Edmonton.

“The warning may be extended further into central Alberta, however current forecasts call for 30 to 50 mm of rain in the Edmonton area, though there is a potential for a lot more,” Global Edmonton weather specialist Phil Darlington said.

“On average, Edmonton gets 47 mm of precipitation in May,” he said.  “We have picked up 7.8 mm on May 1, so with the forecasted amount, we might get about a month’s rain in one event.”

Calgary is expected to see about 25 mm of rain before it tapers off overnight on Tuesday.

Temperatures are also expected to cool off significantly, with highs on Tuesday in Calgary and Edmonton only expected to hit between 6 and 9 C.

The normal daytime high for this time of year in Calgary is about 15 C.

The cooler temperatures mean that west of Calgary, the precipitation could fall as snow, with 10-15 cm in the forecast.

Temperatures are forecast to return to seasonal by Thursday.

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