Calgary makes list of top 10 weather stories of 2014

Downed tree branches fill the street in Bridgeland on Tuesday, September 8th, 2014. Global News / Tim Lee

Calgary weather can be unpredictable and at times downright dangerous, so it’s no surprise that two memorable storms in the Calgary area have made Environment Canada’s list of the top 10 weather stories of the year.

Airdrie to Calgary Hailer

A severe hail storm that formed along the foothills and moved east comes in at number seven on the top 10 list. Three waves of tennis to baseball-sized hail hammered Airdrie over a period of 24 hours. The hail shattered windows and shredded the siding of homes. Hundreds of vehicles were severely damaged and outside Airdrie, some farmers saw their crops destroyed.

Six people in Airdrie were sent to hospital after they were injured by hailstones.

The total damage came in at $450 million.

Huge hailstones shattered windows and shredded siding on homes in Airdrie on August 8. 2014. Courtesy of Richard Stroobant.


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Snow in September in Calgary isn’t unusual, but no one was prepared for the snow and cold that descended on the city for three days beginning September 8th.

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“Snowtember”, a freak three-day storm, takes the number 10 spot on the top 10 list.

Just a day after  Calgarians were enjoying temperatures of  25 C, a mass of Arctic air moved in, dumping up to  45 centimetres of snow on some neighbourhoods.  That’s the highest early September snowfall in the past 130 years.

An estimated 500,000 trees across the city were damaged or destroyed as branches and tree trunks snapped under the weight of the heavy, wet snow. The falling branches brought down power lines, cutting electricity to 74,000 homes and businesses.

Rare September snow has Calgarians reeling
Jean Rivers inspects the damage to her trees as snow continues to fall in Cremona, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for Calgary, and much of the rest of Southwestern Alberta. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

The storm caused an estimated $18 million damage and the cleanup and recovery continues even now.

So, with 2014 almost behind us, what will next year bring?

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“It’s not just normal weather anymore,” says Environment Canada meteorologist Dave Phillips. “Normal is to expect the unexpected.”





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