What is Hail?

Hail forms in the core of a thunderstorm and is most common between May and October in Alberta. Hail can hit the ground at 130 kilometres per hour, causing severe damage to people, crops, houses and vehicles. Hailstones as large as grapefruits have been reported in Canada, but even smaller hail can cause extensive damage in a matter of minutes.1​​


Hail Safety

Seek Shelter

Always check the weather forecast when planning activities outdoors. If thunderstorms are forecast, avoid being outdoors at the time, or make alternate plans. Identify safe places for shelter, and determine how long it will take to reach them.

When hail or thunderstorms threaten, seek shelter in a safe, secure building and stay away from windows, glass doors

When Outdoors

If driving, find a place to safely pull off roadways and protect yourself from shattered glass by facing away from all windows. If you are caught outdoors with no immediately available shelter, crouch down, face away from the wind and protect your head and neck with your hands. Watch for flooded areas. Excessive hail combined with heavy rain can plug storm drains and create local flooding.


Outdoor Activities

It's impossible to predict weather forecasts months in advance. Since thunderstorms can develop quickly, you should always have a weather safety plan ready when planning outdoor activities.

  • Adopt an emergency alerting strategy.
  • Schedule activities for times less likely to receive thunderstorms (i.e. morning).
  • Ensure everyone knows the location of the nearest shelter.
  • Monitor forecasts.
  • Have alternate activities planned, or be prepared to cancel activities.
  • Do not resume activity outdoors until at least 30 minutes after the last thunder.


First aid for Hail Impact

It is unlikely that first aid would be required for a hail strike. Bruising and discomfort are the most likely outcomes of being caught in a hail storm, but if hail strikes a person’s head or face, monitor them for signs and symptoms of concussion.

Adapted from:
City of Calgary


Last revised on 26 April, 2021.