It only lasted about 10 minutes, but the hail storm that blew in and out of Calgary on Aug. 12 this summer packed enough punch to find a place on Environment Canada's top ten list of Canadian weather stories for 2012.

The mammoth storm rolled over city skies late at night, pelting homes, cars and people with hailstones larger than golf balls and brought with it high winds that felled trees and ripped siding from buildings and residences.

It was so severe, with the potential to do much more damage, that cloud-seeding planes were sent to the skies to help calm the storm.

The Calgary Herald reported at the time that four aircraft were sent into thick, swirling clouds for more than 12 hours before the storm, spraying silver iodide into the air to tamper the size of the hailstones that would eventually fall.

"This one was a beast. It took everything we threw at it and still was able to wreak some havoc," Terry Krauss, project director of the Alberta Severe Weather Management Society told the Herald.

"I believe if we hadn't seeded, it would have even been worse."

Story continues after the slideshow...

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  • Calgary Hailstorm on August 12th 2012

    A massive Hailstorm started in Calgary and lasted for an hour with hail the size ping pong balls and some the size of golfballs. And there was tons of lightning that lit up the sky! And tornado warnings close to Calgary!

  • Severe Thunderstorm in Calgary 8/12/2012

    The storm that rolled over calgary with golfball size hail.

  • A Dish Of Hail

    @baudais: More golf ball hail! Insane! pic.twitter.com/X7wrvIdj

  • Severe hail storm slams Calgary

    Mon, Aug 13: A powerful storm hits parts of southern Alberta. As Francis Silvaggio reports, some Calgarians say it sounded like gunfire was hitting buildings.

  • Major Hail Storm Calgary Alberta Canada Aug. 22 2010

    A major hail storm hit the Bridlewood community in Calgary Alberta Canada on Aug.22 2010. Major damage to vehicles and buildings. This video is a complation of several area external cameras that show the descruction in motion. Hail of one inch greater was seen in the millions. Major rain, thunder, and lightning event as well. The BigRockies Media Team www.bigrockies.com See all the videos on http Your Online Condo Community www.condohood.com

  • Calgary Hail Storm - Aug. 12, 2012

    Getting rocked by golf ball sized hail...

  • Calgary Hail storm aug 12 2012

    Hail as big as golfballs, started out around 9:50pm with rain and pea sized hail. Around 10pm it went from pea to golfball sized hail. I own all the rights no use without my permission. For use please contact me.

  • Matt Johnson

    @MesocyclonicWX: Just before all hell broke loose! #abstorm pic.twitter.com/SpGokjai

  • Lunatic Hail Bigger Than Loonie

    @amanda_en_ciel: Golfball sized hail in Ramsay. So insane! #yyc #hailstorm #ouch pic.twitter.com/d83swxkX

  • Thunder, Lightning and Hail! Aug 12 2012 Calgary, AB

    One of the worst storms I have seen! Skip to 6:45 for pictures of the hail and such if you are sick of the video haha music from incompetech.com royalty free music Follow me! ...In a non-stalker-ish kind of way Twitter @ChristinaGailC Instagram @ChristinaGailC Facebook www.facebook.com Check out my other channels! Gaming www.youtube.com Make-Up www

  • Lyndsay Morrison

    @LyndsayTWN: Trees have been uprooted / snapped in half in the NW of Calgary. Power outages reported, as well. #yyc #abstorm ...

  • @MilkeHillyer: Massive hail storm in NorthWest Calgary #YYC pic.twitter.com/3Tdyl1Hf

  • Tom Graham

    @Washed_Up: Nice formation coming in west of #Kananaskis #abstorm pic.twitter.com/21kv6E37

  • Karen Jiang

    @karenjiangles: Wowza golf balls! (Twoonie for scale) #yychail

  • Sheila D.

    @shulaya: @CTVdavidspence @reedtimmerTVN better view of the #abstorm north of Cochrane pic.twitter.com/MGs2NB6l

  • Braden Swab

    @bjswab: West of Airdrie #abstorm pic.twitter.com/PTxome1E

  • Calgary Hail From Sunday's Storm

    (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mosesyu_photography/7771223820/sizes/z/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">yumoses 1992</a>, Flickr)

  • Windows Smashed In At Dealerships

    @lisaostrikoff: Completely smashed out windows @ dealerships #hail #yyc #royaloak(Instagram)

  • Calgary Storm Aug 12, 2012 "GOLFBALL HAIL!!"

    PROGRESSION OF A STORM!! Mega Hail!!! Destroyed sunroom!! A little dark in the beginning of video but lots of LIGHTNING after a few golfball size hail pictures.

  • Golf Ball Sized Hail

    @collenbe: Hail in Tuxedo in #yyc is bigger than golf ball. Over 2" across! See pic! Sounded like gunfire hitting bldg! pic.twitter.com/9xIr5B5Q

  • Rob Davis

  • Dayna Vettese

  • The Weather Network

  • Justin Dowell

  • Calgary Hail storm - August 12 2012

    1" and larger hail struck Calgary tonight doing a fair bit of damage. Even on my covered balcony I wasn't entirely safe from the large hail!

  • Calgary hail storm! 12/08/12 Part 2!

    Calgary hail storm 12/08/12... Longest and largest hail we've had in my area... at least when we have been there to witness it! ---------- ● CONNECT WITH ME ● ● Subscribe! - www.youtube.com ● Let's Play Channel! - www.youtube.com ● Twitter! - twitter.com ● Twitch.tv! - www.twitch.t...

  • Calgary Storm - August 12, 2012

    Music by Mike King - "Day Like Today". Golf ball size hail and a lot of fireworks on Aug 12, 2012 in Calgary Alberta, Canada.

  • Calgary Hail Storm Aug 12/12

    This video was uploaded from an Android phone.

  • Devastating hail damage across Calgary

    Mon, Aug 13 : Insurance companies will be busy after a monster hail storm that rolled through Calgary Sunday night. People are dealing with dented cars, smashed windows and ruined gardens. David Boushy reports. Incredible viewer video and pictures are included.


And if that weren't enough, Calgary was hit later that week with two separate hail storms that left behind additional damage and even stranded two window washers 22 storeys above the downtown core before they were forced to smash out an office window to climb to safety.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada says the storm accounted for half of the $1.2 billion dollar claims across Canada this year and cost $552 million in insured damage. The damages claimed were less than another ripper of a hailstorm that tore through Southern Alberta two years earlier in 2010, but this summer's storm was enough to land the number nine spot on Environment Canada's list.

Most of the claims in Alberta were for flooding and hail damage to cars and homes.

The unusually warm and wet summer across Alberta and Saskatchewan is also noted on Environment Canada's list, earning the number five spot of extreme weather events. Saskatchewan's early fears of drought were kept at bay by summer soakers that brought more than twice the average rainfall in May and June. Calgary was drenched with more than 133 millimetres of rain in June - well above the average 80 millimetres for that month.

According to Environment Canada:

"Veteran meteorologists in Alberta couldn't remember the last time parts of the province came under a humidex advisory for two or more days."

It was the second most active summer ever for severe weather events in the prairies, with summer storms more frequent and slower moving than usual. Of the 63 days between June 13 and Aug. 14 only 11 days were free of severe weather.

Other facts about the prairies wet, wild and warm summer, from Environment Canada:

- There were 371 severe weather events across the prairies. Alberta recorded its greatest number at 169 and Saskatchewan had its second highest total at 135.

- Only seven tornadoes were recorded in Alberta - much fewer than usual.

- Saskatchewan recorded 33 tornadoes - up sharply from the average of 13.

- Second highest year on record for hailstorms.

- A near-record year for wind events. Not since 2007 have so many storms exceeded gusts of 90 kilometres per hour and Alberta broke the previous record with 41 wind storms - up from the high of 37 in 2007.

Environment Canada compiles the list based on the longevity of the weather event as a news story as well as the impact on the economy and the size of the area affected.

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