Witnesses report pea-sized hail as storm hits parts of B.C.’s south coast

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
A person walks their dog as hail comes down in Ottawa on Saturday, May 9, 2020.

Environment Canada says storms tracking over British Columbia’s south coast brought hail to the region today, with one witness reporting pellets the size of large peas blanketing his local streets.

Meteorologist Yimei Li says the weather agency has received reports about hail from White Rock, South Surrey, North Vancouver and South Vancouver.

Li says thunderstorms, when combined with cooler-than-normal temperatures, create the right conditions for hail to develop.

Kelly Breaks of White Rock, B.C., witnessed the unusual activity first-hand, describing it as “the weirdest thing.”

Breaks says he woke to the sound of loud thunder claps on Saturday morning, prompting him to turn on the TV in search of a weather update only to have the broadcast drowned out by the sound of the passing storm.

He says a glance out his window revealed his whole street had turned into what he described as a river due to the hail.

“It looked like a white water river, you know the white water rapids coming down and the cars were having to slow down and it was really quite something,” said Breaks.

Describing the hail as the size of a “large pea” or “a small grape,” Breaks says it was incredible to witness the intense yet brief storm, which petered out after 15 to 20 minutes.

Li said hail usually forms when water droplets are carried upward by thunderstorms into cold areas of the atmosphere and freeze. Hailstones will fall if they become too heavy for air currents to keep them aloft.

It remains unclear how much hail fell on affected areas.

SEE ALSO: Environment Canada warns of snow for B.C.’s major Interior mountain passes

This report from The Canadian Press was first published June 15, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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