Storm aftermath in photos

Story by Rhonda Cooper

Downbursts, plow wind and tornado are just some of the descriptors being used to label the storm that swept through the Meadow Lake area July 18 with winds up to 100 km/h.

Environment Canada’s Greg Walters, warning preparedness meteorologist for Saskatchewan who is based out of Saskatoon, indicated “something pretty significant” moved through the area. Residents, business owners, SaskPower, city, town, village and rural municipality crews were left to tackle the massive clean up left in the storm’s wake.

Environment Canada tracked the storm throughout the day noting the line of severe thunder storms originated just across the border in Alberta and spread eastward into Saskatchewan. The Meadow Lake weather station located at the airport recorded a thunderstorm from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. and lightning between 3 and 4 p.m. in the afternoon before shutting down at 6 p.m.

“The daytime heating occurring around 4 p.m. is also a contributing factor to the weather that was experienced,” said Walters. According to the hourly data report for Monday, the temperature jumped from 20.9 degrees at 1 p.m. to 24.7 degrees at 2 p.m. and reached its peak of 25.9 degrees at 6 p.m. slowing dropping until 10 p.m. when a significant decrease of 4.2 degrees was recorded at 11 p.m.

A number of area residents have attributed the damage to that of a tornado.

“A weak tornado can swirl out of the cloud base of a severe thunderstorm,” said Walters.

“We have an unconfirmed report of a tornado approximately 10 to 15 km north of Big River.”

Severe thunderstorms can also create downbursts. Winds measuring between 80 and 90 km/hr can come out of the base of the clouds. Walters, when given the description of the snapped off tree tops in the Rapid View area, suggested downbursts may have been responsible for the devastation.

While a specific label has not been placed on the type of storm that ravaged the area, the aftermath is easily labelled as a mess – one requiring significant time and effort to remove.

The photos

Jonathon Weibel checks the damage on a grain bin caused by Monday’s windstorm at Cavalier Agrow. The company had 12 grain bins blow down at a cost of $16,000 apiece. It’s expected the bins will simply be scrapped, and new ones will be bought. - Photo by Mac Christie

Last Monday’s windstorm tore the building off a bathroom, exposing the toilets inside at the Lion’s Park campground. The five-year-old building will probably need a new roof, said city manager Bruno Kossmann. The toilets were unharmed. -Photo by Mac Christie

RCMP Constables Kyle Fehr and Len Peterson tag a downed power line northwest of Rapid View. -Photo by Rhonda Cooper

Ernest Kohler is dwarfed by the tree that landed on his house and crushed the front of his half ton. -Photo by Rhonda Cooper

Pernel Esau surveys the damage to his brand-new deck on Tuesday morning. In all he said the deck took five weeks last year and three weeks this summer to construct. “I was done yesterday, just put the final board in and the screen,” he said. “This was all covered in yesterday, at the roof you can see where it actually separated there.” -Photo by Ben Ingram

“Here’s what survived that, what made it through the storm,” Esau said, showing the bird nest still anchored to one of the cracked beams of the deck. The parents of the little robins could be seen watching carefully from the roof of Esau’s home. -Photo by Ben Ingram

Peter Meier (left) and Len Labossiere (right) try to lift the boat rack from a destroyed display in front of the Co-op Service Centre. They abandoned this tactic and decided to dismantle the rack first. Manager Colin Peters said the boats suffered $5,000 in damage and would probably be a write-off. -Photo by Mac Christie

In Elizabeth Aldous’ backyard, this massive tree was torn from the earth and came crashing down on her home during the night, as well as her neighbour’s. Her mother arrived in the morning to see the damage firsthand. “We were out at the lake, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Donna Aldous said. “The sky was lit up for over an hour, continuously with lightning. It was just phenomenal.” -Photo by Ben Ingram

Julie Ginther surveys the damage done to their half-ton truck and camper. -Photo by Rhonda Cooper

Alfred Hawkins cuts a fallen tree into pieces and cleans up the mess on Seventh Avenue West, Tuesday morning. The force of the winds split the tree right through at its base, causing it to fall sideways on the parking lot.

Kevin Hubbard tries to dislodge a broken off tree during a members work party at Meadow Lake Golf Club July 20. More than 20 members helped out cleaning up the course, despite heavy rain. Course superintendent Daryl Wood estimated the course lost around 100 trees on the front nine. -Photo by Mac Christie

Jonathan Lay cleans up some of the damage at the Freedom Logging storage shed in the Meadow Lake industrial park. The company used the shed to store equipment, and while some ATV’s were stored in the shed, they weren't damaged. The company is unsure of the cost to replace the building. - Photo by Mac Christie

Darrin Cote begins repairs Tuesday morning on the OK Tire shop on First Avenue. The high winds had ripped off a large section of the building’s siding, as well as scattering ragged pieces of the roof across the roads. “Pretty wild wasn’t it,” he said. “There’s pieces of the roof all over the place.” -Photo by Ben Ingram

Rod and Brandon Bear returned home from work in Fort McMurray to find their yard in disarray. Pictured is one of dozens of damaged trees on their property. -Photo by Rhonda Cooper

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