Parts of the Maritimes could be hit with large hail as a severe thunderstorm watch spreads this afternoon to areas of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

CBC meteorologist Kalin Mitchell says there's a risk of thunderstorms as warmer air rises through cooler air at the mid-levels of the atmosphere, creating instability.

"In addition, the presence of the cooler air means that with any thunderstorms that do develop there will be a risk of hail," Mitchell says. "The periods of greatest risk for thunderstorms will extend from this afternoon until sunset this evening.  

"Downpours and gusty winds will also accompany any thunderstorms that do develop."

Environment Canada is warning the weather could bring hail to the following areas:

  • Antigonish County, N.S.
  • Colchester County North, N.S.
  • Guysborough County, N.S.
  • Pictou County, N.S.
  • Cumberland County North, N.S.
  • The Cobequid Pass, N.S.
  • Kings County, P.E.I.
  • Queens County, P.E.I.
  • Moncton and southeast New Brunswick

"Large hail can damage property and cause injury," the Environment Canada website states. "Be prepared for severe weather. Take cover immediately, if threatening weather approaches.

"Stay indoors when a thunderstorm strikes. There isn't a place outside that is safe during a thunderstorm. In Canada, lightning kills up to 10 people every year. Remember, when thunder roars, go indoors."