'Apocalyptic' storm hits Yellowknife

The smoke-filled sky turned orange just before a huge thunderstorm hit Yellowknife, Northwest...

The smoke-filled sky turned orange just before a huge thunderstorm hit Yellowknife, Northwest Territories Wednesday night. (Sarah Elsasser/@SassoYK)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:11 PM ET

Rain, smoke, thunder and lightning had some in Yellowknife joking it was the end of days Wednesday evening.

"Black skies, thunder and ashflakes. The end may be near," Twitter user @SassoYK wrote. "Was just told 'have a nice apocalypse' by the check-out guy at grocery store."

Ongoing wildfires in the Northwest Territories mixed with a thunderstorm to turn the sky very dark at 5:30 p.m. in Yellowknife. Several residents took to social media to post photos and comment on the storm and smoke, many hoping rain was on the way to help quell the forest fires.

Twitter user @Gordupnorth tweeted photos of the storm rolling in.

"Rain in Yellowknife! And so dark at 5:30 p.m. I'd swear it was December," he wrote.

User @AnsonChappell took a photo at the airport and tweeted, "It's black as night, a rarity in Yellowknife in July."

Strong winds in the North Slave region pushed heavy smoke into Yellowknife and the surrounding area, the environment department said in a press release.

The number of wildfires continues to rise, but at a slower pace than two weeks ago. There have been a total of 286 fires in the territory this year, scorching more than one million hectares of land.

Major highways, including Hwy. 3 between Behchoko and Fort Providence, and Hwy. 5 near Fort Smith, have been shut down periodically due to heavy smoke.

Environment Canada issued a special air quality statement late Wednesday to warn the smoke would create a health risk.

"West to northwest winds are bringing very high concentrations of smoke to communities around Great Slave Lake. Winds are expected to remain from the north until Friday morning, when winds will switch to southerly. This will help to improve air quality for the communities south of the lake on Friday," the advisory said.


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