Scars from Prairie storms visible from space
by Chris Scott
The Weather Network
July 26, 2013
It’s been a wild few weeks across the Prairies, and the evidence is clear both on the ground and from hundreds of kilometres above the Earth. Recent storms have left visible scars on the landscape due to intense, narrow hail swaths.
Farmers on the ground see the damage that these hail storms have done to crops, but the view from above offers a different perspective on the scale of this destructive weather. NASA’s AQUA and TERRA polar-orbiting satellites provide high-resolution colour images of nearly every corner of the globe once per day and are able to pick out significant hail swaths that have impacted agricultural land.
One of the most dramatic examples is a hail storm that hit just east of Airdrie, AB on July 6th. The picture below taken near Irricana just after the storm could easily be mistaken for a post winter storm scene with deep drifts of ice.
Even more amazing was Garry Lockyer’s picture taken the next day from a hot air balloon. Hail still covered the ground in a long swath where the accumulation was deepest.
The damage to crops resulted in a hail swath scar that will likely be visible from space for the rest of the growing season. High resolution colour satellite images of hail swaths have the appearance of someone taking an eraser to the green farmland, leaving behind a smudged brown streak.