July 17, 2014 4:48 pm

UPDATE: Severe thunderstorms pummel Alberta communities

UPDATED AT 6:15 P.M. MT- The tornado watch has ended

CALGARY- Environment Canada issued a tornado watch for several parts of Alberta on Thursday afternoon, and forecasters urged those living in Airdrie and surrounding areas are advised to head indoors immediately.

A severe hailstorm hit the Airdrie area, and smashed the windshields of nearly a dozen vehicles parked at CrossIron Mills.

Calgarians were also warned to brace for a severe thunderstorm, as were the Hanna, Coronation, Oyen, Lloydminster, Wainwright, Red Deer, Rocky Mountain House and Caroline areas. Severe thunderstorm watches were also been issued for the Strathmore, Vulcan, Red Deer and Calgary areas.

Environment Canada said conditions are favourable for the development of dangerous storms, which could lead to damaging wind gusts, hail and heavy rain. There is also a tornado risk.

A watch is issued when conditions are favourable for severe weather. A warning is when hazardous weather is imminent or occurring.

Download the free SkyTracker weather app for the up-to-the-minute updates.

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