Pictured here is one of the severely damaged buildings on the grounds of the Stettler Museum. Photo by Mark Weber/Black Press

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

Damages to local structures and buildings continue to be assessed

  • Aug. 14, 2019 9:00 a.m.

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.

 

The siding of many homes in the region saw severe damage because of the storm. Submitted photo

Just Posted

Vet clinic changes hands in Bashaw

Ponoka’s Central Vet takes over after retirement of local vet

PHOTOS: Samson Pow Wow

This year’s theme was honouring and strengthening treaties

Stettler County and Paradise Shores remain at standstill

No timeline as to when 220 leases can return to Buffalo Lake

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

Damages to local structures and buildings continue to be assessed

Ag minister hears more on the problems of Bill 6

Dreeshen appears in Ponoka during ag consultation tour

Fashion Fridays: How to dress and feel powerful

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

First Nations women finally to be treated equally under Indian Act: Bennett

Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action thanked the feds

‘Easy Rider’ star Peter Fonda dies at 79

Actor and writer was nominated for an Oscar for co-writing the 1969 psychedelic road trip movie

What could be next? Five questions in the SNC-Lavalin saga

Will police lay charges? Will report resonate with voters? Will Jody Wilson-Raybould get re-elected?

Alberta government strikes panel to advise on wage cut for alcohol servers

Panel is tasked with consolidating existing studies on the effects of a minimum-wage increase

‘Tips on steroids:’ Social media both a help, hurdle for Canadian police investigations

More than 1,000 tips were received by police in the hunt for fugitives Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky

B.C. homicide victim’s brother says he may never know why she was killed

Stetson Deese the family is preparing for the possibility they’ll be left in the dark on motive

Most Read