Eerie atmosphere preceded hailstorm

From our February 2013 issue

By TEENA FENIAKFairview, Alta.

I remember that July 7, 1977 was a scorching hot day, but that was about to change.

The sky turned all grey around suppertime. The air was very still. I told my daughter, Dana, “There’s hail in them there clouds.” I wasn’t sure of that. All I knew was that the atmosphere was eerie.

We were outside along with my husband Steve, and five-year-old Delilah who were farther away from the house. Crack! A huge hailstone hit the pig barn. Crack! Crack! Another hailstone and another. Crack! We stayed near the house. Hailstones came down the size of golf balls. Crack! Here and there. Crack!

Steve ran to the house, wearing a hard-hat. He was carrying Delilah who was wearing an oversized hard-hat. Into the house we all went and tried to shut the door.

The hail kept coming, hitting the ground hard, hitting the step and sticking to it. Crack! In the doghouse nearby were the kittens. They looked so cute, gingerly poking out their noses, then retreating. The dog, Butch, was an outdoor dog. Not this time! He was scared and forced his way into the porch where we all were, then we shut the door.

After 10 minutes or so the hail changed to rain. There were these hailstones, the size of which we’d never seen before, around Whitelaw, Alta., our farm, or anywhere.

The next day we went out to ascertain the damage. Other than huge holes in the soft garden dirt, there was little damage!

Steve had tried to cover the better vehicles with plywood. The only damage was three dents to the good truck. The old vehicles of course got off scot-free with no dents. I had mixed flowers in my garden including one poppy. That poppy was so delicate, but it and all the other flowers were unharmed.

Because the hail wasn’t thick the crops were okay, and no serious injuries to man or beast either. Our dog, Butch, had a fear of storms after that.