Shredded trees, destroyed gardens, flattened crops, broken windows and damaged vehicles. That’s what Lacombe and area residents woke up to Wednesday morning after a violent hailstorm Tuesday night.
Taking a look down any street in the City yesterday morning – the devastation is evident. Tattered leaves covered the sidewalks, with residents and business owners slowly sweeping up the debris.
Many cars had tarps covering where their back window used to be. Others have smashed windshields and sunroofs, broken side mirrors and dents all over from the large-sized hail. Insurance companies were busy receiving multiple claims throughout the day.
Environment Canada Meteorologist Gregg Pearce said the government weather organization received multiple facebook and Twitter reports of large hailstones pelting vehicles on Tuesday night.
“The hail was reported at 50 millimeters in diameter, which is golf ball-sized to egg-sized hail,” he said. “As for rain, from an auxiliary station in Lacombe, 20 millimeters of rain fell in a fairly short period of time.”
Pearce said the large storm hit the region just after 7 p.m., with the first heavier storm set bringing 17 mm of rain, following a brief break and then 3 mm more of rain falling.
A peak wind of 30 knots (73 km/h) was recorded 24 minutes after 7 p.m. at the height of the storm. “There was definitely a wind gust,” he said.
The moments before the storm hit at 7:15 p.m., a sound that could be described similar to a train coming could be heard, followed by large, icy tennis ball-sized hail falling down from the sky.
Streets in Lacombe experienced flash flooding and once the storm passed, residents were quick to exit where they sought shelter and assess the damage of their homes, yards and vehicles.
The high-intensity storm also passed through Ponoka, Bentley, Blackfalds, Clive and Alix and the north end of Red Deer.