A file photo of Fort Smith. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
Environment Canada warned on Friday evening of a “line of severe thunderstorms” just west of Fort Smith and Fort Fitzgerald.
Federal forecasters issued a severe thunderstorm warning at 8:30pm, saying the storms were “capable of producing very strong wind gusts, up to nickel-size hail and heavy rain.”
“Take cover immediately if threatening weather approaches,” the warning stated. The region covered included Fort Smith, Fort Fitzgerald and areas of Wood Buffalo National Park. Fort Resolution was placed on severe storm watch, a lower-grade advisory suggesting conditions could worsen.
By 10pm, the warning had been downgraded as the storms passed through the area.
The warning came as the Fort Smith region was already suffering heavy smoke and reports of falling ash from wildfires.
“There continues to be no risk to Fort Smith from any of the fires burning within Wood Buffalo National Park,” a Parks Canada fire information officer stated on Friday evening, acknowledging the conditions in the town.
“A system today moved in with strong south winds that blew smoke towards the area from several fires located in Wood Buffalo National Park, as well as throughout western Northwest Territories and Alberta,” Parks Canada stated.
“There is no threat from these fires to Fort Smith, Fort Fitzgerald, or any other communities at this time.”