Damage is being assessed after Monday’s storm that ripped through central Alberta.
Farmers were out surveying their crops Tuesday after hail the size of softballs left a swath of damage.
Jim Terpsma farms near Rocky Mountain House and said his crops took a beating.
“Estimated 50 per cent loss on this,” said Terpsma. “The canola seemed to withstand this pretty good. The wheat took it pretty good, but the barley and the corn really took a beating.”
He said it’s a tough loss to swallow.
“Just dollar signs floating into the sky. It was looking like a really promising year — input costs are high but prices are also high. So obviously a huge economic loss.”
Insurance provider Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) said claims from Monday’s storm will take some time to come in, but numbers are trending up.
“Clients do have 14 days after a storm to report their losses,” said AFSC’s provincial adjusting manager, George Kueber. “We don’t have a claim number in the sense where we can give you an accurate number because these claims are still coming in, but we are trending above average.”
Keuber said AFSC deals with about 7,000 claims in a normal season.
“We really encourage our clients to have a good look at their fields after a storm. We understand they can’t always get there right away. We understand our clients in these areas where they’ve had some of these storms are under a lot of stress and dealing with a lot of pressure. At the end of the day, our adjusters are starting to work into these storms and we’ll get there,” he said.
Read more: Storm that triggered tornado warning rips off roofs, uproots trees in northern Alberta village
Edmontonian Gibran Marquez was still recovering from the shock of the storm Tuesday.
Marquez and some friends were returning to Edmonton from a weekend music festival in Calgary when they received a tornado alert on their phones just south of Red Deer. They had their eyes to the sky when they encountered the first sign of the storm they were driving into – a softball-sized chunk of hail hitting the highway and bouncing 30 feet into a ditch.
“The sight of that freaked us out. We all got goose bumps and pulled right over and it just started drilling us,” recalls Marquez.
“Our back window got blown out right off the bat. All of a sudden, you started seeing, one by one, windows left and right getting blown out. At this point, I started grabbing objects just to throw up to my driver and passenger just so they can have something to protect themselves up in the front, give them my backpack, like just really trying to figure things out.”
Video Marquez posted to Twitter shows the massive hail flying sideways, pummeling him, the driver and the passenger.
“My driver/best friend is getting killed in the ribs (and) side of his body constantly, like he was getting punched by somebody. It really freaked me out,” he said.
As the storm raged on, Marquez said he started fearing for his life.
“I tend to be a calm person in these types of situations, but there came a point where even I gave my parents a phone call like, ‘Hey, I love you guys. I don’t know what’s about to happen, but I just want you guys to know that I love you.’ I never want to make that phone call again, ever.”
Marquez said he suffered a mild concussion and some scratches to the left side of his body, while his friend who was driving has bruised ribs. The vehicle was destroyed.
Marquez said he’s just lucky to be alive.
“Your take away is life can change in a matter of seconds, right? And I’m going to look at those notifications on the tornado warnings. I have grown a lot differently after yesterday. And I’m never going to buy a vehicle with a sunroof.”
East of Innisfail, resident Chris Malone said it was a storm like he has never seen before that hit his home Monday.
“All of our vehicles are in a sad state of repair — extensive glass damage, a lot of body damage to everything in the yard. Roofs, siding, everything on the house and shop is damaged. It was very powerful tennis ball sized hail,” Malone said. “Nothing was spared.”
Malone said he was just completing repairs from a storm two years ago.
“We’re still finishing up from the last time we had some high winds blow through and cause damage and now we get to do it all over again.”
— With files from Tom Vernon