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Severe hail storm damages Pictou County greenhouse

Tuesday, May 18th 2021, 3:41 pm - ‘I've never seen a hail storm like this before,’ says manager of West River Greenhouses

A severe spring hail storm started so quickly in a pocket of Pictou County late Monday afternoon that the owners of a local plant nursery had no time to save many of their budding vegetables.

It was about 4 p.m. when icy pellets, some of which were the size of a quarter, came pouring down in an area of the county that includes Central West River and Lyons Brook, said Marie Lennox.

"I've never seen a hail storm like this before," the manager at West River Greenhouses told CBC Radio's Maritime Noon.

"You could hear it just smacking off the glass. You could hear it bouncing off the siding, off the decks outside and you could hear the glass just shattering. It was pretty scary."

CBC: Some of the hail that fell on Monday afternoon was the size of a quarter, according to the manager of a local plant nursery. (Marie Lennox) Some of the hail that fell on Monday afternoon was the size of a quarter, according to the manager of a local plant nursery. (Marie Lennox/CBC News)

She said the localized storm lasted between 30 and 45 minutes and when the hail let up, many of the nursery's young vegetables had been badly damaged.

The glass at the front of a greenhouse had even shattered, although the plants inside were unharmed.

"Unfortunately, all we could do was stand and watch as the panes of glass broke and shattered to the ground," Lennox said.

The nursery's young broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce and onion transplants were all outside and hit the hardest. But Lennox hopes some of the older, hardier plants that were outside will be able to recover.

CBC: The young vegetable transplants that were outside were largely destroyed. (Marie Lennox) The young vegetable transplants that were outside were largely destroyed. (Marie Lennox/CBC News)

She estimates the business lost $3,000 to $4,000 in crops and $10,000 to $20,000 in property damage. Staff are still trying to determine if insurance will cover some of it, she said.

With the May long weekend around the corner, it's a particularly bad time to have lost some of their inventory, Lennox added.

"Fortunately, though, we'll still be open throughout the week and the weekend and we will have lots of tomato and pepper plants available for sale."

This article was originally published for CBC News. Contains files from CBC Radio's Maritime Noon.

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