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Severe thunderstorm watch in central Alberta

Storms tracking from west could bring wind gusts and hail
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Environment Canada has issued a thunderstorm watch for central Alberta and other parts of Alberta. (Graphic from Black Press News Services)

Environment Canada has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for a large swath of the province from Fort Saskatchewan to Lloydminster, including central Alberta.

Conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms that may be capable of producing strong wind gusts and large hail, says Environment Canada in the watch issued shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday.

In central Alberta, all or parts of Red Deer, Lacombe, Ponoka, Camrose, Paintearth, Flagstaff and Stettler are included in the watch.

Thunderstorms are developing in western Alberta. As these thunderstorms track to the northeast, some of them may become severe between this afternoon and later this evening.

Severe thunderstorm watches are issued 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.

Residents are reminded to head indoors when there is lightning in the area.

A weather advisory has also been issued for the Rocky Mountain House and Caroline areas, covering parts of Brazeau, Clearwater and Yellowhead Counties and O’Chiese First Nations.

Funnel clouds are possible from near noon until early this evening. The advisory may be extended to the east this afternoon.

“These types of funnel clouds are generated by weak rotation under rapidly growing clouds or weak thunderstorms. This weak rotation is normally not a danger near the ground,” says Environment Canada.

“However, there is a chance that this rotation could intensify and become a weak landspout tornado.”

To report severe weather, send an email to ABstorm@ec.gc.ca or tweet reports using #ABStorm.