Calgary-Area Hailstorm Damages Could Reach Over $25M

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | August 14, 2014 11:00 AM EST

Damages from the two hailstorms that hit north of Calgary could reach over $25 million, the Insurance Bureau of Canada said, with the agency describing the event as catastrophic.

A thunderstorm hit Airdrie city last Thursday. Hail stones as large as golf balls erupted in some areas, leaving holes in the siding, eaves and windows of homes. The windows and lights on a number of vehicles were also dented and smashed.

"Rarely do we see windows being taken out, I haven't seen too many storms where the windows get broken," Global News quoted Peter Green from Airdrie Autobody. "The storm was just more severe than average, because you see windows, sunroofs even cracking...that's not standard."

Another thunderstorm swept through the area on Friday, bringing heavy winds and hail.

Car body shops in the area said it will take months before they can finally clear all repairs on all damaged vehicles, as residents continue cleaning up debris caused by the weather events.

"It all depends on the year and the make of your vehicle," Green said. "If you have a six or seven year old vehicle with say, 150K, chances are it's not going to be repairable."

Hail season in Alberta typically runs from June to September. IBC advised vehicle and homeowners to review their policies to ensure their needs are specifically covered by these.

"It's a fact that the frequency, severity and cost of severe weather are on the rise all across Canada," Bill Adams, IBC Vice-President, Western and Pacific, said. "We're certainly seeing this in Alberta and the Prairie provinces where homes are being damaged more frequently by hail, heavy rainfall and strong winds, which makes it critical for people to know how to protect themselves and their property."

In 2012, severe storms in Alberta resulted in over $700 million in insured losses, while in 2011, storms and hail accounted for another $380 million in insured losses.

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