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Quebec tornado warnings, severe thunderstorm watches in effect

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A tornado warning is currently in effect for the Saint-Michel-des-Saints area in the Laurentians, while other tornado warnings have been downgraded to severe thunderstorm warnings.

The most recent warning was put into effect by Environment and Climate Change Canada at 4:01 p.m., saying meteorologists are tracking a thunderstorm that is possibly producing a tornado.

"Damaging winds, large hail and locally intense rainfall are also possible. Take cover immediately, if threatening weather approaches. One or more weak tornadoes may be occurring in the area. They sometimes appear as funnel clouds with swirling debris near the ground," the warning stated. 

The weather agency advises people that if threatening weather approaches, they should immediately take cover.

"Go indoors to a room on the lowest floor, away from outside walls and windows, such as a basement, bathroom, stairwell or interior closet. Leave mobile homes, vehicles, tents, trailers and other temporary or free-standing shelter, and move to a strong building if you can. As a last resort, lie in a low spot and protect your head from flying debris," it said.

Tornado warnings downgraded

The Mont-Tremblant-Sainte-Agathe, Lachute and Upper Gatineau areas of Quebec were under tornado warnings just after 2 p.m. on Monday, but Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) downgraded those to severe thunderstorm alerts around 2:50 p.m.

There are severe thunderstorm warnings in place in Mont-Tremblant-Saint-Agathe, Sainte-Adele-Saint-Sauveur, Saint-Donat-Mont-Tremblant Park, and Papineauville-Cheneville areas.

Severe thunderstorm watches were also issued for the Greater Montreal area and other regions of the province on Monday afternoon. 

A tornado watch was also issued in the Gatineau area and remains in effect as of 3:45 p.m.

Tornado warnings are issued when thunderstorms are likely to produce tornadoes. A watch is a step down from a warning.

Severe thunderstorm watches

The agency notes the thunderstorm is expected to roll in starting Monday afternoon in Montreal, Laval, the South Shore and other regions.

Regions under a severe thunderstorm watch are as follows:

  • Lachute-Saint-Jerome
  • Lanaudiere
  • Laurentians
  • Metro Montreal-Laval
  • Mont-Laurier
  • Mont-Tremblant Park-Saint-Michel-des-Saints
  • Pontiac
  • Richelieu Valley-Saint-Hyacinthe
  • Upper Gatineau-Lievre-Papineau
  • Vaudreuil-Soulanges-Huntingdon

While the "conditions are favourable for the development of dangerous thunderstorms capable of producing very strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy downpours," said Environment and Climate Change Canada of the Montreal area.

Drivers are being advised to avoid using the road if possible.

"Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads," the government department warns. "Lightning kills and injures Canadians every year. Remember, when thunder roars, go indoors."

Severe thunderstorm watches are issued when atmospheric conditions favour the development of thunderstorms that could produce large hail, damaging winds or torrential rainfall. 

Over 50,000 without power

Just after 8 p.m. on Monday, over 55,000 Hydro-Quebec customers were without power, according to the state agency. 

The majority of those customers were in the Montreal (over 12,000), Lanaudiere (over 10,000), the Eastern Townships (over 8,000) and Monteregie (over 11,000) regions.

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