Tornado watch issued for areas north and east of Edmonton
A tornado watch was issued at 12:25 pm for areas north and east of Edmonton. The watch covers the following areas:
- Westlock, Barrhead, Athabasca
- Bonnyville, St. Paul, Cold Lake, Lac La Biche
- Fort Saskatchewan, Vegreville, Red Water, Smoky Lake
- Lloydminster, Wainwright, Vermilion, Provost
All of the areas had previously been under a severe thunderstorm watch but have since been upgraded to a tornado watch by Environment Canada.
A severe thunderstorm warning is also in effect for Clearwater County near Caroline, James River Bridge and Rocky Mountain House.
The tornado watch covers a large area. According to CTV Metrorologist Josh Classen, the vast majority of that region will NOT see severe weather, let alone a tornado. "In fact, there’s no guarantee a tornado will develop at all," says Classen.
However, conditions are favorable for large supercell thunderstorms to develop late this afternoon & this evening, particularly in east-central Alberta.
Areas that get hit by these storms can expect torrential downpours and possibly large hail. Conditions are also right for some rotation within these storms & it’s possible we’ll see one or more tornadoes later today.
"We’ll continue to monitor the situation closely & we’ll have a much better idea which areas are at a higher risk once those thunderstorms start to develop,' says Classen.
Environment Canada alerts called "Watches" are to inform the public about weather conditions that are favourable for a storm or severe weather that could produce a tornado. Severe thunderstorms also have the potential to produce very large hail, flooding rain, and powerful winds. As certainty increases about the path and strength of a storm system, a watch may be upgraded to a "Warning", which is an urgent message that severe weather is either occurring or will occur.
Environment Canada asks anyone who spots a funnel cloud or tornado to call 1-800-239-0484 to report the sighting, only when it is safe to do so.