A swath of northern Alberta, including Edmonton, was put under severe thunderstorm watches and warnings as a fast and intense storm swept through Monday afternoon.
While some regions reported a sudden onslaught of rain and hail, the storm was quick to move on.
By 3:30 p.m., the thunderstorm watch had been lifted for Edmonton.
Environment Canada said conditions were favourable for the development of dangerous thunderstorms that may be capable of producing damaging wind gusts, damaging hail and heavy rain.
“The storms expected to develop will contain heavy rainfall and will be capable of nearly baseball-size hail and wind gusts approaching 110 km/h,” Global Edmonton meteorologist Jesse Beyer said Monday morning, adding the damage could be brutal in some areas.
The thunderstorms were expected to develop between Peace River and Edmonton on Monday afternoon, and were forecast to move to the northeast and continue into the evening.
“These storms will be moving in excess of 50 km/h, but will be capable of causing significant damage to crops and property in the affected areas,” Beyer said.
Beyer said after on-and-off-again showers for the past few days, the region has enough moisture at the surface to contribute a ton of energy to developing thundershowers.
“The heat has been an issue for many and we will get some relief this week — however, the approaching cold front will trigger severe thundershowers from the Peace River region, southeast to just northwest of the Edmonton region near Westlock,” Beyer explained.
Those in the affected areas are urged to monitor the forecast closely Monday afternoon for the most up-to-date information.
The national weather agency issues severe thunderstorm watches when atmospheric conditions are favourable for the development of thunderstorms that could produce one or more of the following: large hail, damaging winds, torrential rainfall. Severe thunderstorm warnings are issued when those same conditions are “imminent or occurring.”
Very large hail can damage property, break windows, dent vehicles and cause serious injury. Very strong wind gusts can damage buildings, down trees and blow large vehicles off the road. In its alert, Environment Canada reminded people that severe thunderstorms can produce tornadoes.
But once the cold front moves through the region, Beyer said the area will be seeing daytime highs back towards the average temperature of low-to-mid 20s.
One of the best ways to track locally hazardous driving conditions is from local viewer reports. The #yegtraffic hashtag is often used by Twitter users reporting traffic issues within Edmonton.
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