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STORM WATCH: Active storms on Canada Day

STORM WATCH: Four things to know about Ontario, Quebec's severe storms.

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Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, July 1, 2014, 1:20 PM -

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Canada Day storms are sparking up in parts of Ontario and Quebec, courtesy of a system that is tracking into Canada from the United States, where it sparked tornado, severe thunderstorm and flash-flood warnings.

"The severity of afternoon storms with the passing cold front will be dependent on the system currently tracking through ahead of the front," Weather Network meteorologist Kelly Sonnenburg said early Tuesday morning. "If the system breaks up and weakens, daytime heating will allow for very severe storms to develop."

Weather Network viewers were already reporting active skies in the pre-dawn hours in southwestern Ontario, and ominous skies were widespread ahead of the storm as it began to approach eastern Ontario, sparking severe thunderstorm watches and warnings as they went.

Strong winds were reported in the Barry's Bay area, and Hydro One was reporting

Here are four things to know about Ontario and Quebec's Canada Day storms.

1. Impact

Storms associated with the cold front will have the ability to produce torrential downpours, damaging wind gusts, hail, intense lightning and the chance of a tornado.

"Eastern Ontario through the Ottawa area is looking like the highest risk for severe storms to develop," Sonnenburg says.

Meteorologists are keeping an eye on the system's wind potential, due to wind gusts of more than 100 km/h recorded in the United States Monday.

Environment Canada has not issued any statements about wind potential from these storms in Canada, but that may change. Check often, and be careful when lighting fireworks in windy conditions.

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2. Timing

The system began entering southwestern Ontario in the pre-dawn hours Tuesday, making themselves known in the areas of Windsor, Sarnia, Chatham and Lake Huron shore.

They'll continue to push east into London and the GTA through the morning, and eastern Ontario and Quebec by the afternoon and evening.

"This line of storms will continue to weaken through the morning hours on Canada Day, but may still provide for some showers across the GTA to start the day," said Weather Network Chief Meteorologist Chris Scott. "The focus for severe thunderstorms Tuesday afternoon and evening will be across eastern Ontario and southern Quebec due to a cold front passing behind the initial system." 

Storms across all these regions should move east in time for fireworks.

EXPERT ANALYSIS The Weather Network's Chief Meteorologist Chris Scott outlines the details of a "nasty line of storms" racing towards southern Ontario and Quebec on Canada Day.

3. Warnings and watches

Tuesday began with severe thunderstorm watches in effect in the southwest, including the Waterloo and London regions, but they dropped as the sun began to rise.

As of 7 a.m., those watches had dropped, but Environment Canada issued new watches for eastern Ontario, including Peterborough, Belleville, Kingson, Ottawa, Cornwall and others. A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for the Renfrew - Pembroke - Barry's Bay area just after noon.

Severe thunderstorm watches were in effect for Quebec north of the Ottawa River.

The intense heat and humidity that have been fueling thunderstorms since the start of the weekend have caused Environment Canada to issue heat warnings in the Ottawa, Cornwall and Prescott areas.

STORM WATCH: We'll be tracking these storms LIVE on the Weather Network on TV. Tune in, and check back for regular online updates.

4. The storms' track record

This line of severe storms pummeled parts of the Midwest and Northern Plains in the United States on Sunday. The storms were being called a "Derecho" in the US – a term used to describe a family of thunderstorms that produces a large area of wind damage. The Weather Channel reported wind gusts over 128 km/h long with significant wind damage to trees and houses in eastern Iowa, particularly around Cedar Rapids. In nearby Fairfax, Iowa, a man died when a building collapsed during the derecho around 2:42 p.m. Central time, Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner told The Weather Channel. 

Over 40 percent of Alliant Energy's electricity customers in Linn County have lost power as a result of tree and power line damage.

With files from Dalia Ibrahim

Follow @weathernetwork on twitter and use #onstorm #qcstorm #tornadotuesday #tstormtuesday for updates. And don't forget to share your photos and videos with us by uploading them to our website.

Check back for updates.

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