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Heat warnings, severe thunderstorm watches, warnings in place across Alberta

WATCH ABOVE: Meteorologist Jesse Beyer has our seven-day weather forecast starting Wednesday, July 31, 2019.

Extreme heat in the southeast and a possibility of thunderstorms in the west: that’s the weather picture in Alberta on Wednesday.

Thunderstorm warnings

Environment Canada issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Calgary at 5:30 p.m., saying the storm could have strong wind gusts, up to nickel-sized hail and heavy rain. The warning ended just before 6 p.m.

The weather agency initially warned that a severe thunderstorm near Priddis would “soon enter southwest Calgary,” moving northeast at 20 kilometres per hour.

At around the same time, severe thunderstorm warnings were also in effect for Foothills County near Blackie, Priddis and Brown-Lowery Provincial Park as well as Rocky View County near Chestermere, Dalroy, Dalemead​, Bragg Creek and Tsuu T’ina Nation.

All thunderstorm warnings were dropped by 10 p.m. However, several severe thunderstorm watches remained in place for parts of west-central Alberta.

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Thunderstorm watches

Severe thunderstorm watches were issued for parts of the province, including Nordegg and Rocky Mountain House and spanning as far south as Airdrie.

Conditions were favourable for the development of storms that could produce strong wind gusts, damaging hail and heavy rain, according to Environment Canada. The storms were expected to develop Wednesday afternoon and stick around through the evening.

“Storms that initiate off the foothills and move east have the potential to produce two- to four-centimetre hail, heavy rain and wind gusts near 90 km/h,” Global Edmonton’s chief meteorologist Jesse Beyer said.

Hail on Highway 748 in Yellowhead County at 6:30 p.m. July 31, 2019.
Hail on Highway 748 in Yellowhead County at 6:30 p.m. July 31, 2019. Courtesy: Vivian Williams
Hail on Highway 748 in Yellowhead County at 6:30 p.m. July 31, 2019.
Hail on Highway 748 in Yellowhead County at 6:30 p.m. July 31, 2019. Courtesy: Vivian Williams

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The severe thunderstorm watches were expected to expand toward the east as the day goes on.

For a full list of affected areas, visit Environment Canada’s website.

Heat warnings

Environment Canada issued heat warnings for parts of southeastern Alberta on Wednesday morning.

Temperatures over the next three days are expected to reach as high as 32 C during the day and not drop below 14 C to 16 C overnight in parts of southeastern Alberta, according to the weather agency.

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People in the area should consider rescheduling outdoor activities for cooler hours of the day, take frequent breaks from the heat and drink plenty of water, Environment Canada recommends.

Heat warnings are issued when high temperatures are expected to cause an increased risk of heat illnesses, such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

Air quality advisory

An air quality advisory also remained in place Wednesday for the far northwestern part of the province. Wildfire smoke is causing poor air quality and reduced visibility in the area.

The advisory encompassed High Level, Rainbow Lake, Fort Vermilion and Mackenzie Highway.

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– With files from Global News’ Kaylen Small