Hail hits parts of Vancouver Island, risk of thunderstorms continues Friday evening

WatchHail falls across southern Vancouver Island on Sept. 27, 2019.

Storms dropped hail on parts of Vancouver Island Friday afternoon, accompanied by strong winds.

At around 2:20 p.m., Environment Canada tweeted there were reports of some small hail with thunderstorms over southern Vancouver Island, with cells moving toward Sidney and Victoria.

Residents in Crofton reported the hail at around 1 p.m., along with dark clouds, rain and strong winds.

The hail was reportedly pea-sized and caused some difficulties with drivers in the area. It did melt but caused some water to pool on roads.

Residents in other areas also saw hail, including Maple Bay, Cobble Hill and Central Saanich.

According to Public Safety Canada, hail forms in the core of a thunderstorm. Water vapour in warm, rapidly-rising air masses (convection currents) condenses into water at higher, cooler altitudes producing heavy rain showers. If it is cold enough, ice crystals can form around minute particles such as dust whipped up from the ground. These increase in size as more water freezes onto their surfaces. When the ice pellets are too heavy for the ascending air currents to lift, they fall as hail. They may become larger, heavier and more damaging if they collect more water on the way down.

Hailstones have a minimum diameter of half a centimetre. Below that they are defined as snow or ice pellets. Hail can grow larger than 10 centimetres — the size of a grapefruit. Hail can hit the ground at 130 kilometres per hour and can cause severe damage to crops, houses and vehicles as well as injuries to people and animals.

Hail occurs right across Canada, though more frequently in Alberta, the southern Prairies and in southern Ontario. Hail occurs in the strong updrafts needed to form thunderstorms which tend occur in warm weather. Therefore, damaging hail storms generally only happen in Canada from May to October, Public Safety Canada says.

There is a chance of thunderstorms throughout southern Vancouver Island Friday evening and Friday night.

You can submit weather photos to [email protected] and weather videos to Spot CHEK.


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