A vehicle drives through a massive puddle caused by heavy rainfall in Red Deer in June. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

A vehicle drives through a massive puddle caused by heavy rainfall in Red Deer in June. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

2022 Year in Review: Summer storms rock Red Deer region

From giant hailstones that sounded like gunshots to upwards of 150 millimetres of rain, Red Deer area residents dealt with their fair share of disastrous weather events this summer.

Heavy rain caused localized flooding in July and the City of Red Deer activated its Emergency Operations Centre in response to heavy rainfall on June 13 and 14 – which was then deactivated on June 17. The first storm in early June hit Red Deer with 71-75 millimetres of rain.

“Activating the Emergency Operations Centre allows emergency crews to monitor conditions in a coordinated way, prepare mitigation efforts and prepare a coordinated response for anticipated flooding,” said Ken McMullen, Director of Emergency Management, The City of Red Deer at the time.

One report from the Government of Alberta said the Red Deer area received more than 200mm of rainfall in June. The Red Deer River rose by about one metre during that storm.

The City of Red Deer has heard from 220 property owners citing damages due to ground flooding following excessive rainfall on June 23.

In July, the city submitted an application to the Government of Alberta’s Disaster Recovery Program seeking financial relief for residents and property owners who experienced flooding due to excessive rainfall in June.

Matt Berry, a 41-year-old graphic artist had an experience he likely won’t ever forget driving on Highway 2 in August. A wild hailstorm, with hail the size of baseballs began pounding cars on the highway, forcing a number of vehicles to pull over.

RCMP Cpl. Gina Slaney said 34 vehicles were significantly damaged during the storm

Environment and Climate Change Canada said that the pieces of hail that fell in central Alberta ranged from the size of peas, dimes, nickels, golf balls, hen eggs, tennis balls, baseballs and softballs.

And a group that researches hailstorms in Canada says a hailstone found in Markerville, weighs a record-breaking 293 grams.

“Some colleagues and I maintain a national database of really large hail from around the world and before the Monday event, there were only 21 hailstones documented that weigh more than 290 grams,” said Dr. Julian Brimelow, executive director of the Northern Hail Project.

“As far as we know, this is also the largest documented hailstone to fall in Canada.”

The last record-breaking hailstone in Canada fell on Aug. 27, 1973, in Saskatchewan.

Brimelow said three team members discovered the hailstone on soft snow under a tree.

Many local farms were also hit by the unprecedented storm, killing off a large number of crops.

—With files from The Canadian Press

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