Claims up in storm’s wake

The phone lines at Agriculture Financial Services Corp. were busy on Tuesday, as farmers surveyed fields in the aftermath of weekend storms and reported their findings.

The long weekend’s storms left many Central Alberta crops like this barley field near Blackfalds damaged.

The phone lines at Agriculture Financial Services Corp. were busy on Tuesday, as farmers surveyed fields in the aftermath of weekend storms and reported their findings.

As of mid-afternoon, AFSC’s offices in the Red Deer-Olds-Lacombe region had produced 248 claims, said Chris Dyck, senior manager of insurance operations with the provincial Crown corporation. There was plenty more activity at AFSC offices further south.

“It’s a little bit hard to get a real handle on things, but generally there was a big stretch of damage from Olds all the way to Milk River-Warner,” said Dyck.

The picture should be clearer today after regional offices have finished filing their reports, he said, but the outlook is grim.

“We’re expecting the Saturday and Sunday storms this past weekend to result in, the way it looks now, in excess of 1,500 claims provincially.”

There were reports of golf-ball-sized hailstones and winds up to 120 km/h in Central Alberta early Saturday evening. Buildings and vehicles were damaged, and one person was killed and 75 injured when part of the main stage collapsed at the Big Valley Jamboree at Camrose.

Environment Canada said a wind gust of 141 km/h was recorded in Three Hills.

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