Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 08/29/2014

Photo taken on August 28, 2014

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Panasonic DMC-FZ200
Anne Elliott
southern Alberta
strong winds
near Skiff
major storm
Severe Thunderstorm Warning
shelf cloud?
storm clouds
menacing appearance

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Yesterday's storm clouds near Skiff, Alberta

Yesterday's storm clouds near Skiff, Alberta
Got back around 12:00 midnight last night (28 August) from a three-day trip down to Waterton Lakes National Park and have not yet been to bed. Falling asleep at the computer, so have no choice but to go to bed right now (8:30 a.m.). I will have to tell you about some of the things we did and what we saw, later.

During my three days away (26, 27 and 28 August 2014) with friends Cathy and Terry, we saw so many things, I hardly know where to start. This always happens when I go anywhere with them - every day is a very long, fun-filled day, full of exciting finds. So many, that I'm only just starting to add a description under the six photos from our trip that I've posted so far.

Perhaps I will simply list some of the things and then add more detail to each photo as I add them to my photostream. Of course, we couldn't have had a more beautiful area to explore! Waterton Lakes National Park has amazing scenery and wildlife. The weather forecast that I saw before we left Calgary said that we were in for three beautiful days of sunshine - too often, it can be rainy weather. So, luck was on our side, giving us warm, sunny days - until the BIG STORM hit! We had driven eastwards from the park, hoping to see Yellow-bellied Marmots and, if we were really lucky, a Burrowing Owl. The storm was approaching very fast, around 5:00 p.m. just before we started our return trip to Calgary. It was like nothing I had ever seen before - a menacing shelf (?) cloud that was travelling fast and furious. Despite trying our best to get away from it, it eventually engulfed our car, surrounding us with more or less zero visibility, pounding hail, thunder and lightning, and very strong winds. There was nothing to do but stop the car and sit tight, hoping that the hail would not break the car windows and that this severe thunderstorm would not develop into a tornado! This storm was very scary, but at the same time, exciting (only because all turned out OK in the end!). Our road trip sure went out with a bang! Someone from the Alberta Tornado Watch told me that this storm was a Mesocyclone! A good thing that we were not right in the very centre of the storm!

Will briefly mention a few of the things we saw - fantastic scenery, 4 Black Bears (including one that was swimming in the lake), Bison, Deer (including this one and several others that we saw in the town of Waterton, where we stayed for two nights at the clean and friendly Bear Mountain Motel), Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels, Chipmunks, various bird species including the Burrowing Owls, a few wildflowers, several Yellow-bellied Marmots (a first for me!), a few different insect species, and a family of some species of Grouse (still not sure what kind). I even got the chance to see three or four new-to-me old, wooden grain elevators.

Cathy and Terry, thanks so much for yet another wonderful trip with you! Can't thank you enough for inviting me along. You always do such a great job of finding so many interesting things for us to see and enjoy. Lots of fun!