Residents of Irricana, are cleaning up after a monster thunderstorm rolled through town July 6, leaving more than a foot of hail in its wake.

Life-long residents are stunned as photos and stories emerge of the devastation of the storm.

"Never in all my years," David Butters, resident of Irricana since 1974 said, while showing off the flooding and destruction along First Street. "I've never seen anything like this."

He's not the only one.

"It was unreal," said Frank Dusome, owner of Irricana Collision. "The front door (of the business) is an out-swinging door and I couldn't get out because of the foot of hail."

Remanence of the hail could still be found along First Ave, as of July 8.

Dusome had to resort to climbing outside through a back window and over his back gate, to shovel the hail in order to open his front door.

"It's the worst I've seen and I've been here 12 years," Dusome said.

The hail wasn't the only headache for the town of nearly 1,200, residents along First Street are coping with flooded backyards and basements.

Darwin Powell, a 13-year resident of Irricana, was enjoying a summer's afternoon in his backyard when the storm hit.

"I had a small fire (in the fire pit) and the storm knocked that out in minutes," he recalled. "The hail had such force behind it that it took out all my plants."

Entire rows of plants along his shed have been destroyed, as have his trees and backyard - which has submerged under nearly a foot of water on July 8.

Powell said he is grateful he doesn't have a basement to his house because the amount of water running through his property could have settled in a basement.

Butters wasn't so lucky, his basement is holding the remaining flood water.

He's tried to pump the water out, but insists that it only makes the problem worse, as the water will start to come back in, due to poor drainage in the town.

There is no official tally of hail that fell on July 6 as Environment Canada weather stations cannot track the amount in the community.

However, Bill McMurty, meteorologist with Environment Canada, said it was an "impressive" weather system.

"It was an extensive amount of hail," he said. "A line of slow-moving thunderstorms moved into the area, which means they can produce a lot of weather element, and that's what happened."

The amount of precipitation that fell and the amount of time the hail lasted, is rare, McMurty said.

The storm, which raged from the northwest and held Irricana captive for two-hours, flattened farmers fields as well.

"Of what is left, it's all stubble,"

Dusome said of local crops.

The Town's vegetation, took the hardest hit, as is evident in resident Lorna Fraser's vegetable garden on First Street.

Whole rows of peas, onions, beans, beets, potatoes, raspberries and dill were demolished, and the garden is a virtual right off.

Fallen trees, narrowly missing homes, crashed to the ground, and left residents cleaning up the mess.

The town's beautification efforts were also lost, as planters that were placed for decoration in the up coming Summer Fair celebrations July 12 and 13, were destroyed.

While the town is cleaning up out of the mess, residents agree they are thankful no one was injured.

According to Airdrie RCMP Cst. Templeman, there were no weather-related accidents reported on local roads on July 6. However, she said officers attended a number of home and business security alarms triggered by the storm.
Irricana hail
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This tree was uprooted in Irricana on Sixth Street during a July 6 hail storm.