Ahead of the forecast for hail in the area, Helen Fornwald, the City of Estevan’s safety coordinator, is reminding the public of important safety measures to protect themselves and their property during the storm.

“Due to the recent conditions, I just want to explain what hail is. Hail forms when updrafts in thunderclouds carry raindrops upwards into extremely cold areas and freeze layer upon layer until they're too heavy and fall to the ground. Hailstones vary in size from pea to grapefruit,” Fornwald explained.

She noted that once it has formed it can fall at a rapid rate. The primary safety tip is to take cover and stay indoors until the storm has passed.

“Do not go out to cover plants, cars, or garden furniture, or to rescue animals. If you’re driving, pull over to a safe place like inside a garage or under a service station awning. Do not stop under bridges or overpasses. Do not leave the vehicle until it stops hailing,” Fornwald advised.

To minimize potential damage, Fornwald recommends cleaning out eavestroughs to prevent ice dams or water damage and repairing any problem areas on your roof. She also suggests considering storm shutters or impact-resistant windows.

She added that removing weak branches or trees near your home and storing patio furniture and other outdoor items in an enclosed space ahead of the storm, will help reduce potential property damage.

Fornwald also noted that it is best to keep vehicles in garages or covered areas if possible, or to use a hail protector cover to avoid costly repairs.