PHOTOS: 'Windshield-busting hail' blasts Alberta as tornado-warned storms hit

PHOTOS: 'Windshield-busting hail' blasts Alberta as tornado-warned storms hit

Another round of severe thunderstorms prompted tornado warnings across parts of northern Alberta on Monday. Large hail was also a major threat with these storms, with copious amounts of golf ball-sized hail accompanying the system throughout the afternoon and evening.

In order for hail to form you need a thunderstorm to be present, one in which updrafts are strong enough to carry raindrops upward into extremely cold areas of the atmosphere where they can freeze and become ice pellets.

DON'T MISS: How hail – of all shapes and sizes – forms, falls from sky

"As the heat and humidity spread into Alberta on Monday, it also brought a lot of energy for thunderstorms to areas west of Edmonton. These thunderstorm had strong updrafts and were able to suspend very large hail before plummeting to the surface," says Matt Grinter, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

How large a hailstone gets before it falls to the ground will depend on how strong the updraft within the cloud is, its capability of lifting it and keeping it suspended. The general rule is the stronger the updraft, the larger the hailstone. Normally, hailstones vary between the size of a pea and a marble, but vigorous thunderstorms can produce hailstones the size of a golf or tennis ball.


Just recently, a new network of hail-sensing weather stations have been installed in Calgary, giving nearly unparalleled access to weather data that will help to better understand and forecast dangerous hailstorms. Nineteen hail disdrometers are now in operation.

"It’s definitely the first in Canada and one of a handful around the globe," said Northern Hail Project (NHP) executive director Julian Brimelow during a demonstration of the new system. "It's a very exciting time to be doing hail research. We’re a bit like kids at Christmas with all the technology we have at our disposal."

MUST SEE: New 'disdrometers' in Calgary will help forecast the next big hailstorm

Here's a closer look at some of the 'windshield-busting hail' that slammed through the Alberta region on Monday.

WATCH: Calgary's new optical devices will help shape forecasting in Canada

Click here to view the video

Thumbnail image courtesy: Braydon Morisseau/Twitter