In the heart of summer

In the heart of summer

Wacky weather strikes Stettler region

Rain, wind, thunder — and even hail — take turns in past week

Summer storms with thunder and lightning, rain and hail knocked down crops and knocked out power last week in the Stettler area.

Some crops east of Stettler were damaged during a storm last Thursday that swept through the area for about 10 minutes just before 5 p.m.

“It looks like we had 22 claims east of Stettler,” said Brian Tainch, manager on farm inspection for the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation regional office. “It wasn’t a huge number, and we haven’t been out to look at the damage.”

Hailstones were from pea to marble size, he said, and the crops in that area are mainly canola and cereal.

Vehicles in low-lying areas stood in a few inches of water and motorists drove through “small ponds.”

Lightning was identified as the cause of a brief power outage in downtown Stettler on Friday during noon hour.

“It was related to lightning,” said Allan Gano, ATCO Electric’s east-central district manager.

Electricity was knocked out just before noon on the west side of Main Street, and extended to 54 Street between 51 Avenue and the railway tracks. Power was restored at 1:15 p.m.

An ATCO employee called to the scene said the cause might have been lightning, “as someone reported that they saw fire dancing on the wire,” Gano said.

Wires were struck on the lines in an alley. “We were fortunate that our protections worked the way they were designed and we were able to repair the service promptly,” Gano said. “Throughout the summer months, our staff often works long hours to restore power safely.”