An unexpected spring thunderstorm lit up the skies in the southern Northwest Territories last night.

The storm began on the west side of Great Slave Lake, near communities like Fort Providence, Kakisa, and Hay River, before making its way east over Yellowknife.

Seeing the first lightning storm of the year —while there was still snow on the ground — took many by surprise, including Yellowknife's mayor.

Wayne Kendrick was at his cabin 35 kilometres down the Ingraham Trail when the storm struck. The bright flashes and thunder shaking his cabin woke him up. He thought a car had pulled in and was flashing its headlights.

"The place was lighting up and there were several flashes. I thought: 'it doesn't make sense. I can't understand why there's lights,'" he said.

When Kendrick stepped outside on his porch, the sky lit up with lightning. He said the thunder and lightning were right above his cabin.

"I'm very excited because it's like a once in a lifetime thing happening right overtop of you. The cabin shook and I couldn't believe it," said Kendrick. "I was just in awe."

Kendrick has lived in Yellowknife for 30 years and said he has only seen a lightning storm at this time of year once before.​