Surviving the Crazy Hail Storms in Alberta

Monday, August 5, 2013

Preparing for a hail storm

Hail storms occur across Canada, but none are as furious as the storms in Alberta. On September 7, 1991 the area of Calgary received hail the size of tennis balls. In July this year, a freak thunderstorm hit parts of Airdrie, Alberta leading to accumulation of several inches of hail on the ground in just 15 minutes.  

On an average the Alberta foothills receive 40 hail storms a year. The storms cause large-scale damage to crops, cars, homes and other property, and result in millions of dollars in insurance claims. Given the destructive history of hail storms in Alberta, storm preparedness is crucial for residents.  

If you stay in Alberta (or any other area frequented by violent hail storms) here are a few precautions that you must take to safeguard your family and property.

Preparedness before the hail storm hits

Prepare the home exterior – Keep tree branches around your home trimmed to avoid damage during the storm. Call the local authorities for any help on blocked drainages and gutters. Ensure that the roof is in good repair to survive the onslaught of the furious hail storms. Secure everything such as garbage cans and lawn furniture that could blow around in strong winds and cause damage.

Listen to the news - Unplug all electrical appliances and stay tuned to the weather updates issued by local authorities on a battery powered radio.  Don’t take any chances and stay indoors.

Safety Measures during the storm

  • Bolt all the doors and windows of the house and keep you family and pets away from them.

  • If you happen to be in a car when the storm strikes, drive quickly to an area away from trees and power lines that could fall on your vehicle. Stay inside the car.

  • If caught outdoor in a hail storm, seek shelter. If you cannot find a safe place, then assume the ‘leap-frog’ position with your head down to protect your body.

  • When hail is accompanied with a thunderstorm, don’t touch any items in the house that can conduct electricity such as appliances, phones, poles, sinks and bathtubs.

For detailed information on preparing for severe hail storms visit the Alberta Emergency Management Agency website.