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The $100 million hailstorm that hit Canada's second-largest wine-producing area

Wednesday, July 21st 2021, 4:52 am - On this day in weather history, the Okanagan region was hit by a hailstorm.

Listen to The Weather Network's This Day in Weather History podcast on this topic, here.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features stories about people, communities, and events and how weather impacted them.


On Monday, July 21, 1997, a hailstorm hit the Okanagan Valley of B.C. The area is known for its wineries and fruit orchards. The Okanagan wine region is Canada's second-largest wine-producing area, second to the Niagara Peninsula in southern Ontario.

The Okanagan is also known for its apples and soft fruits and it is home to wineries and fruit processing companies.

Vineyards of Covert Farms Vineyards of Covert Farms. Courtesy of Mack Male/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 2.0

Generally, the Okanagan has a mild climate and low annual precipitation. The area is also home to Osoyoos, a very arid climate known for its warm water and beaches. So the area has a large variety of produce.

Considering the area is heavily reliant on its fruit production, the hailstorm had a significant impact. The hail was also accompanied by heavy rains and strong winds up to 100 km/h.

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The storm knocked $70 million worth of fruit from trees. This resulted in an approximate $120 million reduction in economic activity.

In addition, around 1,000 seasonal jobs were lost. This includes orchard-level jobs and those at fruit packing houses.

Nearly 40 per cent of the crops were deemed unusable. The economic loss did not only impact the 1997 season, but it took trees two to three years to recover. Growers in the area called it the worst storm in memory.

To learn more about Okanagan's hailstorm, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features unique and informative stories from host Chris Mei.

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Thumbnail: Courtesy of Pixabay

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