WATCH: Golf-ball sized hail not extrememly uncommon in region: meteorologist

Damages to local structures and buildings continue to be assessed

The hail storm that pulverized Stettler on July 30th, although very destructive, wasn’t an extremely rare occurrence in Central Alberta.

Dan Kulak, a meterologist with Environment Canada, said reports of golf-ball sized hail aren’t that unusual for the region during hotter summer days.

In the Erskine area, nickel-sized hail was reported as well.

Kulak also explained that with large hail and such unstable weather often comes significant wind.

“In order to produce golf ball sized hail, there has to be some pretty strong updrafts,” he said. “You have these at first small hailstones suspended in the air, and the longer they stay there, the more water they collect on their surfaces.”

Layers of moisture keep increasing the size of these stones before they start plummeting to the ground.

The instability only tends to escalate as the warm air shoots up and the cold air sinks.

“You are also looking at very strong, vertical updrafts to keep these things going,” he said. “And then when they eventually do fall out of the updraft, they are falling from (several) kilometres up – so they are basically falling at terminal velocity when they hit the ground,” he explained.

Thankfully, hailstorms tend to be relatively brief.

“The storms that produce these types of things tend to be moving along. They aren’t standing still producing this size of hail,” he said.

As to what many have perceived as an unusually wet July, Kulak said it doesn’t come close to the record for July moisture recorded in past years.

“One thing that I think has been skewing the perception of the wetness is the number of days that we have had precipitation in the month of July. For example, if rain fall 15 days out of 30, it appears to be a very, very wet month.”

But the actual amount of rain that has fallen might not be record-breaking at all.

“You start to get this impression that it’s a record-breaking month,” he said. “It’s a perception.”

Temperatures from last month, however, tell a rather different story.

In looking at Central Alberta numbers for July, Kulak said the average temperature was 14.8C – that’s taking daytime highs and overnight lows into account.

“It makes it the ninth coldest month out of 106 years,” he said. “So it definitely was on the cool side of normal,” he said, adding that the normal average daytime and nighttime temperature for the month of July is 15.9C.

As to August, Kulak said essentially we can only hope for the best considering the changeability of Alberta weather but initial reports are pointing to a cooler than normal month.

Meanwhile, local residents continue to assess the damages to homes and structures around town.

Karen Wahlund, manager of the Stettler Town & Country Museum, said that about 30 windows were broken around the site. “Most of them are on historic buildings.”

The siding on the old court house was severely damaged as well. “One of our school houses has seven windows smashed out on the north side. And then the building next to it has the south-side window smashed out, too.”

Wahlund was also grateful for her loyal volunteers who took the time to come out and help board up the damaged buildings.

Just Posted

Joe Lang celebrated his 105th birthday with a family gathering on Nov. 10th at Paragon Place

Joseph Lang was born in Saskatchewan on Nov. 12th, 1914, the fourth oldest in a family of 10

Stettler’s Heartland Youth Centre launches fundraising raffle for brand new vehicle

A sleek and shiny 2020 GMC Terrain is the featured prize

Alberta Justice Minister advocates UCP rural crime plan

Expanded property rights, more power to peace officers, demonetizing scrap mental part of UCP plan

Teen with cancer whose viral video urged Canadians to vote has died, uncle tweets

Maddison Yetman had been looking forward to voting in her first federal election since junior high school

Protesters say Alberta bill would make it harder to access some medical services

The bill would mean a health-care provider could not be sanctioned for refusing to provide a service due to morals

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

Rebels ride 3-goal first period to 4-3 win over Brandon

Goaltender Byron Fancy with key saves in third period to save game

Supreme Court of Canada dismisses murder appeals in 2013 Calgary swarming death

Assmar Shlah and Franz Cabrera were convicted in 2016 of second-degree murder

One year on, most oil-and-gas bailout money has moved, federal government says

Sweden’s central bank says it has sold its Alberta-government issued bonds

Ski resorts selling mountain water is a risky move, critics say

Alberta allowed ski resort in Kananaskis Country to sell about 50 million litres to third party

Sportsnet looks at new options for Coach’s Corner time slot, post-Don Cherry

Spokesperson says Hall of Fame feature on tap this weekend after co-host’s firing

CN Rail confirms job cuts as weakening economy cuts into freight volumes

Railroad also said it was affected by a slowdown in the B.C.’s forestry sector

Most Read