Popcorn super-cell hits with hail. Here's why popcorn cells form in Hamilton

Hamilton was hit hard by a sudden popcorn thunderstorm that brought marble to golf ball sized hail, torrential downpours, and power outages just before 3pm this afternoon.

The formation of the storm, as indicated by radar records, points to lake breezes to be the likely fuel for the cells that suddenly formed south of Hamilton between Lakes Erie and Ontario.

Lake breezes are both Erie and Ontario converge south and west of Hamilton, helping to fuel some of the isolated storm cells that have brought flooding and severe weather to the city in the past.

The most infamous of these “popcorn” thunderstorms was the July 7, 2010 storm that flooded the Red Hill Valley Parkway. Earlier that day, I looked at the weather patterns and saw the potential for a strong popcorn storm. I called David Phillips at Environment Canada.

Our conversation turned to popcorn thunderstorms and how influential lake breezes are on Hamilton’s summer weather.

Listen to an excerpt of that conversation, it applicable today: