Hailstorm Alley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hailstorm Alley is a colloquial term referring to an area of south and central Alberta, Canada where hail storms are frequently produced. These storms frequently produce hail that is damaging to property. This area stretches from High River in southern Alberta, northward through Calgary, through Red Deer to Lacombe and then westward to Rocky Mountain House.[1] It is known to be one of the worst areas in the world for damaging hail produced by thunderstorms.[1] These are regarded as loose boundaries. While this area is common for damaging hailstorms, the reality is damaging hailstorms occur over much of central and southern Alberta every summer. The City of Calgary is regarded as the hailstorm capital of Canada.[2]

Examples of previous storms[edit]

In 1991, the City of Calgary experienced a storm that caused $342 million in damages. At the time, it was the most damaging hail storm in Canadian history.[3]

Then on 12 July 2010, the City of Calgary experienced a storm that produced four-centimeter wide hailstones. This storm caused $400 million in damages, beating the previous record.[4]

In August 2014, Hailstorm Alley experienced numerous severe storms that cost $450 million in insured damages. These storms were recorded in Calgary, Airdrie, Red Deer and Rocky Mountain House.[5]

On June 30, 2016, a damaging storm hit the central Alberta town of Ponoka, causing $50 million in damages.[6] This storm produced large hail as well as a tornado.

In May 2017, a damaging storm hit the central Alberta city of Lacombe, causing $68 million in damages.[7]

In July 2018, severe storms hit central Alberta, resulting in $80 million in damages.[7]

On June 13, 2020, a severe storm hit the Cities of Calgary and Airdrie causing extensive damage and flash flooding. The damages have been calculated at around $1.5 billion making this the 4th costliest natural disaster in Canadian history.[8]

Cloud seeding and insurers[edit]

In 1996, insurance companies formed the Alberta Severe Weather Management Society and began the Alberta Hail Suppression Project. This project uses cloud seeding techniques to lessen the severity of hail storms.[9][10] This society had budgeted $2.5 million in 2012 to run the suppression project, with the potential to save insurers many times this amount during one single storm by reducing claims.[11] Cloud seeding has never been statistically proven to work.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Fire And Ice: Suppressing hailstorms in Alberta". Wings Magazine. 9 June 2008. Retrieved 2015-07-09.
  2. ^ "Expensive and Deadly Hailstorm in Alberta I Desjardins Insurance".
  3. ^ "The Most Destructive Hailstorms in Alberta History | Western Direct Insurance". Westerndirect.ca. Retrieved 2015-07-09.
  4. ^ "Calgary hailstorm sets damage record". Cbc.ca. 11 August 2010. Retrieved 2015-07-09.
  5. ^ "Damage from Alberta hail storm pegged at $450M". Global News. 4 September 2014. Retrieved 2015-07-09.
  6. ^ "Central Alberta hail storm causes upwards of $50 million in insured property damage". Edmonton Journal. 2016-07-28. Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  7. ^ a b "More than $200M in damage from storms this summer across prairies | Calgary Herald".
  8. ^ "Calgary hailstorm that caused $1.2B in damage ranks as Canada's 4th costliest natural disaster". CBC News. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  9. ^ "Alberta's cloud-seeding pilots see 2nd busiest year in 20 years". Cbc.ca. 23 August 2014. Retrieved 2015-07-09.
  10. ^ "Alberta Hail Suppression Project". Weathermodification.com. Retrieved 2015-07-09.
  11. ^ Erika Tucker (14 August 2012). "Fact file: Cloud seeding". Global News. Retrieved 2015-07-09.
  12. ^ Pelley, Janet (30 May 2016). "Does cloud seeding really work?". Chemical and Engineering News. 94 (22): 18–21. Retrieved 10 November 2016.

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