Tennis ball-size hailstones pelt Edmonton during tornado watch
Published Saturday, August 3, 2019 2:45PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, August 3, 2019 9:42PM EDT
Some Alberta residents are dealing with dents and smashed windshields after Edmonton was pelted by massive hailstones Friday night while the city was under a tornado watch.
Fierce showers of huge hail were reported across the city. Many Edmontonians took to Twitter to show pictures of the supersized ice balls. Many used coins, fruit, golf balls, tennis balls and baseballs for scale.
“We have never seen hail this big in our lives. It was massive and even dug up the dirt in our lawn,” Matea Nadeau from Spruce Grove, Alta., told CTVNews.ca.
“We weren’t home when the hail storm hit but an hour later when we came back home is when we discovered the hail that was bigger than a tennis ball.”
Weather alerts were issued Friday evening but there were no confirmed reports of a tornado forming.
Spruce Grove was one of the areas hardest hit. Environment Canada said it had recorded hail as large as a grapefruit in the Spruce Grove area.
That’s not surprising to Travis Stuve, who said he watched the sky change colours from “blue to grey to green,” before the hail started to pound down.
“It went from pea-sized to loonie sized to golf-ball sized, and then I shooed the kids to the basement,” Stuve told CTV News Edmonton on Saturday. “I was worried about the glass breaking on the house.”
Luckily, his house was undamaged. The same could not be said for the brand new truck sitting in his driveway. The day after the storm, Stuve counted over 20 dents of varying sizes on the hood.
His neighbours had similar damage. Kris Kowalczyk noted that one piece of hail “took out the sun roof” on his vehicle, leaving cracks all along the back panel.
He put some hail samples in his freezer to remember the dramatic storm by. “Mother Nature can be fierce,” he said.
Although some areas of Edmonton only received rain, not everyone was spared from the hail.
One Edmonton resident came home to find the back window of her car smashed, and a lump of ice lying on the back seat.
“Unlucky. That it was our car,” Kate Dunn said. “But that’s life I guess. I’ve heard of cars getting dented by hail, but I don’t know anyone (whose) window completely got smashed.”
CTV Edmonton meteorologist Corey Edel tracked the storm before attending a baseball game, where hail could be heard pelting off the venue roof.
“Should have followed my instincts and said no to the game. Those players should not be on the field,” Edel tweeted.
A tornado watch for the Edmonton area was lifted just before 9 p.m. Friday.
Hail is a form of precipitation that occurs when updrafts in thunderstorms carry raindrops into extremely cold areas of the atmosphere where they freeze into balls of ice, according to The National Severe Storms Laboratory.
Thunderstorms that have a strong updraft keep lifting the hailstones up to the top of the cloud where they encounter more supercooled water and continue to grow, the U.S. lab said.