This photo shows a supercell thunderstorm that swept across west Texas a few years ago. The photo was taken near the town of Ballinger, where the storm dumped hail up to the size of tennis balls and produced strong winds that damaged trees and power poles.
A thunderstorm is classified as a supercell storm if it contains a persistent rotating updraft, or mesocyclone. Supercell storms are responsible for some of the most intense severe weather, including tornadoes, very large hail, damaging winds, and floods.
Calgary, Okotoks and Edmonton were affected, but Ponoka was the hardest hit when a severe thunderstorm carrying hail swept over the community about 5:30 p.m. on June 29.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Bill Adams said it was a significant event, but it’s far from the biggest bill in recent time.
Two years ago, a hail storm in the same area caused $600 million in damage, but when factoring in crop damage, the final tally topped $1 billion.
“As an industry, we collect a lot of data and we look for trends and it is very clear to us that something very different is happening in the past decade,” Adams said.
“We’ve always had rain, we’ve always had rain storms and severe weather events, but the reality is we are seeing the frequency and severity of these events escalate over the last couple of years and they become more costly.”
And the industry isn’t shy about what they think is at the root cause of the wild weather: climate change.
“These events are inextricably linked to climate,” he said.
“Something fundamentally has changed in our weather systems and as Canadians and as Albertans we would be wise to recognize that.”