Calgary

Hail pounds Calgary homes, vehicles

A short but intense thunderstorm pelts parts of Calgary with hail the size of golf balls, high winds and heavy rain, damaging homes, buildings and vehicles.

A short but intense thunderstorm pelted parts of Calgary with hail the size of golf balls, high winds and heavy rain, damaging homes, buildings and vehicles.

A severe thunderstorm warning for the city ended after a few hours Monday. Tornado warnings for Drumheller, Wheatland County and other southern Alberta areas were also lifted after a few hours.

Sandy Massey, the warning preparedness meterologist with Environment Canada, said the storm moved so quickly there wasn't enough time for the agency to issue a warning before the hail hit Calgary.

"Sometimes it does develop really rapidly in the summer. Thunderstorms can develop in a short amount of time. So it's always a good idea for people to keep an eye on the sky and … be prepared to take shelter when thunderstorms develop," she said.

The hail smashed dozens of panes of glass on the rooftop greenhouses at the University of Calgary, leaving just 10 per cent of the north side intact.

University spokesman Grady Semmens estimated repairs will cost at least $100,000.

The hail also dinged siding, broke windows and dented vehicles across the city.

"I heard a roar and then I heard a loud pinging and banging," said Norm Walters, who was inside his Charleswood home when the hail started.

Hail broke windows of this home in Charleswood in northwest Calgary.

"All of the sudden it hit and it seemed to grow in size and then it started hitting my windows on this side of my house. And after the third or so the windows started smashing in and three of them were broken."

Animals at the Calgary Stampede grounds were pulled inside, while visitors ran for cover.

The hail was so intense that vehicles pulled over off busy Memorial Drive until it tapered off. Power outages were reported in northwest Calgary.

Severe thunderstorm watches were still in effect for Drumheller, Three Hills, Brooks, Strathmore, and Hanna areas on Monday evening, while a rainfall warning for 50 to 70 millimetres of precipitation by Tuesday morning was in place for Airdrie, Cochrane and Red Deer.

A funnel cloud forms in Strathmore, Alta. on Monday. (Submitted by Chris Southworth)

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