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Funnel clouds spotted over Grande Prairie area

Funnel clouds were spotted over Grande Prairie, Sexsmith and Clairmont on Tuesday. Around 12:30 p.m., pictures of the clouds started popping up on social media. Meteorologist Dan Kulak confirmed they did happen and says that’s not surprising given the weather on Tuesday.

“Generally the atmosphere today is somewhat unstable. We’ve had some thunderstorm activity in and around Grande Prairie and this is the type of a day where you might expect funnel clouds to show up for a few minutes as these storms kind of develop and dissipate.”

Kulak says that a funnel cloud is part of a storm that’s in a rain free area where the storm is usually in the distance. Unlike a tornado, they do not touch the ground meaning they don’t qualify as severe weather.

Last July, one was spotted near Wembley. Kulak says it’s not uncommon to see them in this area in June and into July.

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“[You get] low-pressure systems that tend to bring large widespread areas of rain and in these weather systems, there are often areas that are very supportive of funnel clouds… Funnel clouds are actually relatively common and part of the climatology for much of Alberta.”

While Kulak says funnel clouds aren’t dangerous, people can report them to Environment Canada via email at [email protected], Twitter using the hashtag #ABStorm, or by calling their toll free number at 1-800-239-0484.

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