Categories: Local News

Thunderstorm drops nickel-sized hail over St. Albert

Jeff Wallace

Yet another storm ripped its way through St. Albert on Monday night, pelting nickel-sized hail on some properties.

Brett Anderson, senior meteorologist at Accuweather, said the hail wasn’t enough to cause substantial damage.

“It may have damaged some garden crops, that’s a possibility. To do damage to cars and break windshields, you’d probably want to see at least golf-ball sized hail,” he says.

Anderson says a strong cold front came through causing the thunderstorms. He said it doesn’t take much to create hail when air high in the atmosphere is cold.

Less than 25mm of rain dropped in St. Albert and wind gusts reached over 80 km per hour.

He says the weather was fairly humid by June standards, but doubts the storm broke any records.

Louise Stewart, manager of parks and open spaces, says they don’t have numbers on how many trees were damaged from the storm. She says the city’s public works department is still receiving calls from the storm on June 20.

“Last night is going to continue into one long week-long storm at this rate,” she says.

She says it’s normal for St. Albert to experience thunderstorms in June, but the amount of storms the city has experienced in such a short time has been unusual.

“It’s certainly stretching crews because they can visit a tree and then get a call from the same tree two days later because something else has happened.”

Currently trails around the city are open, but residents are instructed to use them with caution.

Jeff Wallace, professional photographer and severe storm spotter, says the storm escalated quickly.

“The set that started west of us initially didn’t look that impressive,” he said. “But it continued to draw in energy and off it went.”

He spots severe storms with a group called Twisted Chasers. They act as the eyes on the ground, watching how storms develop.

The group had been taking photos by the Genesee power station, around 80 kilometres west of Edmonton.

Wallace packed up his equipment and headed home at around 10 p.m. By the time he made it into St. Albert, the storm was directly overhead. As he was closing his garage door, pea-sized hail started to fall from the sky.

“The rain became torrential and started lashing the road and lashing the trees. When the hail started it was pea-sized but then it got to nickel-sized,” he says. “It was like ‘ping, ping’ and then the big ones hit and trees were just getting shredded.”

He posted a photo of the hail, which had grown to the size of a nickel, on his Twitter account.

Alana Antonelli, manager of Corporate Communications, says only 14 customers reported outages at 11:15 p.m. The outages, caused by lightning, were resolved by 8 a.m.

Dayla Lahring: Dayla Lahring joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2017. She writes about business, health, general news and features. She also contributes photographs.