The Most Expensive and Deadly Hailstorms in Alberta’s History

person holding hail in their handWestern Canada has had numerous large hailstorms over the years. Statistics show Calgary to be the hailstorm capital of the country, and Alberta to be the most disaster-prone of Canada’s provinces, with more than half of the country’s severe weather insurance claims hailing (pun intended) from here. As a result, some home owners have experienced up to 20 per cent increases in the cost of their home insurance policies. To give you an idea of just the damage that hailstorms have caused, here are some statistics:

  • The hail and wind storms that hit Calgary on the 12th and 13th of August, 2012 cost the insurance industry $552 million. It is ranked in the top ten worst natural disasters in Canadian history. The damage resulted from two storms that hit the city at 9:20 and 10:30 P.M. By the next day, auto repair shops had dozens of vehicles at their premises, many with damages exceeding $5,000, some totally scrapped.
  • While the July 31 and August 7, 2012 hailstorms in Calgary did not set any records on their own, they pushed the total for hail insurance claims for 2012 above $530 million.
  • The July 12, 2010, Calgary hailstorm with its golfball-sized hailstones ran up a bill of $400 million. The stones were so large, that body-repair shops were unable to remedy some of the resulting dents. Farmers around Strathmore and Hussar also claimed about $18 million in crop damage.
  • On 7 September, 1991, Calgary suffered another large hailstorm, which lead to 62,000 claims for $342 million.
  • A 1996 Calgary hailstorm cost the city $300 million. In fact, 1996 was a bad year in Alberta, with a second record-setting hailstorm causing damage of $103 million.
  • If the two 1996 and the 1991 storms are excluded, 13 other storms between 1981 and 1998 caused an estimated $600 million in damage in Calgary alone.

If there is one saving grace, hailstorms rarely cause serious injury or death.