Many were on edge in Cape Breton Sunday night after a rare tornado watch was issued for parts of the region.

Environment Canada issued the warning for Sydney Metro and Cape Breton County just before 6 p.m., calling it a “dangerous and potentially life-threatening” situation.

Witness Juanita McKenzie was on the Sydney boardwalk snapping thunderstorm photos just as the watch was issued. 

"It just got really quiet,” she said. “Then the wind started picking up a bit, and I figured it was time to leave. As I was leaving, my girlfriend called and said, 'Do you realize we're under a tornado warning?'"

CTV Chief Meteorologist Cindy Day says it was really about the timing.

“That dangerous wind over intense summertime storms is between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.,” she said. “That’s exactly what happened (Sunday). The cold front pushed over into a very warm, stagnant air mass, allowing those cloud tops to pop up. That created the hail, the very strong downpours, localized flooding, and that tornadic activity inside the cloud.”

In the end, there was no tornado and the watch was lifted an hour later. But it wasn’t before large hailstones fell in Isle Madame, N.S., along with lightning strikes in Eskasoni First Nation.

Resident Derek Yorke says a double rainbow appeared once things cleared up.

"We had about a half hour of pretty strong rain, and then once it broke up, there was a double rainbow overhead,” said Yorke. “With Pride week this week, I thought it was pretty fitting that we had a double rainbow overhead."

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.