Cochrantites were among the many Albertans who were likely caught off guard by Sunday night's tornado warning.

Funnel clouds which stretched from Calgary's Northeast to Chestermere, Strathmore and as far as Vulcan prompted the tornado warning from the Alberta Emergency Alert System.

Much of Rocky View County was notified via smartphone or television as the intense storm made its way through the area.

While weather systems of this extremity aren't common in the Cochrane area, these types of alerts have people wondering if they are in fact equipped with the knowledge of what to in those situations.

Natalie Hasell is a Warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada and she explains what you should do if a tornado warning is issued.

According to Hassell "You find a well-constructed building, you get into the basement, you get as many walls between you and the outside, avoid windows and avoid wide-span roof buildings like shopping malls." 

Hassell says that when it comes to driving during a storm, there are misconceptions about what to do. She says many people often take shelter under an overpass, but this is actually an added risk.

"Do not seek shelter under an overpass. It’s actually worse under an overpass because it’s a more constrained space so winds have to speed up to go through it. So, even if it’s hailing and you’d like to protect your car, just pull off the road; your car can be replaced." 

Cochrane and the surrounding areas typically see a lot of active weather systems in July, including severe thunderstorms often bringing about lightning, heavy downpours, heavy wind and hail.

Environment Canada meteorologist Blaine Lowry says that these systems can also be quite dangerous and it’s not just tornadoes we should be wary of.

He says "If we look at the number of injuries and deaths that are caused across the country in a given year, lightning is far ahead of tornadoes. So that’s definitely something to be aware of when you see those thunder clouds rolling your way."

Lowry says that on average Alberta records 12 tornadoes per year.