British Columbia

Freak hailstorm batters Coquitlam Monday afternoon, summer not over until Friday

A freak hail storm pounded parts of Coquitlam Monday, sending people scrambling for cover and onto social media

'It was coming down so hard, it was crazy'

Brad Girard and his wife, Elisa Crowe, were at their home on Burke Mountain when the hail started pelting it. Girard quickly took to Twitter, posting these photos. (Brad Girard)

A freak hail storm pounded parts of Coquitlam Monday — sending people scrambling for cover — and onto social media.

Elisa Crowe was at home on Burke Mountain when she heard the racket outside. Her husband, Brad Girard, grabbed his camera, quickly posting a series of photos on Twitter.

"It was coming down so hard, it was crazy," said Crowe. "We could see it bouncing off the roof and then, in a matter of minutes, the whole ground — everything was white."

CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe said a cold low pressure system has parked itself off the West Coast where it is currently spinning in the upper atmosphere.

"A cell moved over Coquitlam area around 1 p.m. bringing hail, downpours and lightning strikes," said Wagstaffe.

Despite B.C.'s long, hot summer, the change of seasons has been quick — and dramatic. On Sunday, Environment Canada issued special weather statements for the central and southern parts of the province, predicting cold temperatures and snow over mountaintop elevations over the next few days.

Another sure sign of chilly changes to come: B.C.'s winter tire requirements take effect Oct 1, reminding drivers that by law, winter tires are a must on many highways throughout the province. 

But do the wintery weather warnings mean we're in for an "in like a lion, out like a lamb" scenario? Wagstaffe says it's too soon to tell.

"We may be heading into a weak [La] Niña pattern for the winter. But at this point, it's too far out and too weak to know what kind of confidence there is in that forecast."