The first strong to severe thunderstorms of the season rumbled across parts of Southern Manitoba Wednesday evening. At one point, Severe Thunderstorm Watches were in effect from the Killarney region through Morden/Winkler and east to the Red River Valley and the Vita/Steinbach area. Severe Thunderstorm Warnings were also issued for a number of areas along the Trans Canada Highway, including for Winnipeg.

"We certainly had the fuel in the atmosphere yesterday," explained CMOS Accredited Weathercaster Chris Sumner. "You could feel the humidity in the air, and I think most would agree it felt like a mid-Summer day, rather than early May. Highs in the Pembina and Red River Valley pushed into the 25 to 27 degree range, and that combination of warm conditions and moisture only required a trigger, which we got. As a frontal boundary moved through the area, it provided the spark to kick off these storms."

Dime to hen size hail was reported to Environment Canada throughout the evening, with ping pong size hail falling at Ste. Elizabeth, near the corner of Highway 23 and Provincial Road 200. A Tornado Warning was briefly issued for the R.M. of Oakview, located northwest of Brandon, after a combination of RADAR indicators and on the ground reports of funnel cloud prompted the Warning. 

Rainfall totals were minimal in many locations south of the Trans Canada, except for those areas which did see a strong to severe storm move overhead. The following Rainwatchers are courtesy Environment Canada and the Manitoba Ag Weather Network:

Rosa - 30.6mm (just over 1.2 inches)
Zhoda - 26mm
Elie - 20.3mm (about 8/10th)
Starbuck - 16.5mm
St. Adolphe - 16.1mm
Portage - 11mm
Steinbach - 7mm (almost 3/10th)
Windygates - 5.3mm (about 2/10th)
Brunkild - 4.2mm
Dominion City - 1.3mm
Emerson - trace
25mm = 1 inch

hail stones covering an unworked fieldAfter the brief hail storm, the field Siemens was working on was covered

"We're expecting calmer conditions today across Southern Manitoba, as a more stable airmass settles into the region courtesy of light northeasterly winds," noted Sumner. "Highs today and Friday will remain above average for this time of year, landing between 24 and 26 degrees. Easterly winds gusting to 60 km/h are in the forecast for Friday as a strong Colorado low moves northward through the U.S. Plains. The guidance on this system continues to trend to rain impacts to remain well south of our area, and at this point, other than a cloudy day Saturday, it appears impacts from the system will be minimal, with only a small chance of showers."

Temperatures will cool to seasonal Saturday with a northerly winds over the area, but Sumner noted, looking into next week, well above average temperatures and lots of sunshine are likely.

"Upper level ridging, when the Jet stream moves well northward of us, will set up over much of the Prairies, and that means warm and dry air will move into the region," he said. "At this point, quiet conditions, with temperatures potentially in the upper 20s, are looking possible Monday through Wednesday, with the long range-forecast models showing mixed signals whether those temperatures will continue into the front half of May long weekend."