Powerful storm at Candle Lake sends people for cover, causes extensive tree damage

By Glenn Hicks
July 31, 2018 - 12:11pm

Village crews and the volunteer fire department have been continuing cleanup efforts after a powerful storm ripped through the Candle Lake region late Monday afternoon.

High winds, lightning, and torrential rain hit the region around 4:30 p.m. causing extensive tree damage, but it appears no people were hurt.

“It’s just amazing there were no injuries,” Candle Lake Fire Chief Wes Harken told paNOW. “There was a lot of lightning and an incredible deluge of rain. Someone told me they had an inch and a half in their gauge in 20 minutes. It was a total whiteout; you couldn’t do more than 40 or 60 km/h on the road. The wipers just couldn’t keep it off.”

The storm lasted for around half an hour, and Harken said it seems more than luck played a part in reducing injury, especially at the popular Camp Tapawingo.

“They have an excellent plan in place," Harken said. “The staff really know what they’re doing there and they had the people gathered in the mess hall.”

At the Candle Lake Golf Resort, players also headed for cover when the warning horn sounded, and not long after that the storm struck.

“Two of the access roads around the course were blocked off with fallen trees and at least one trailer on our campsite got hit,” General Manager Rick Rumberger told paNOW. “It just came down in buckets.”

Rumberger said crews on the course were tackling damaged trees and fallen debris Tuesday, but it may take a while as he said he’s never seen a storm so intense.

“We’ve had plenty of wind storms but I’ve probably never seen anything quite that extreme in the 15 years I’ve been here,” he said.

Meanwhile, the village has been also attending to fallen trees and hazardous debris. Administrator Heather Scott said their crews were out Monday afternoon to clear roads and help create access for SaskPower crews. The village workers were expected to be out all day Tuesday.

“There are a lot of big trees down,” Scott said. “We had roads blocked as well as power lines and some cabin damage, but it seems no one was injured.”

The village asked residents to take a look around their property and that of their neighbours if they weren’t at home to check for any potential safety issues.

“Give us a call at the office if you see anything," Scott said. "I drove around this morning and spotted some trees that were leaning. We’ll come and deal with things.”

Lightning destroys home in Carrot River

Meanwhile, severe weather also caused some issues further east Monday. A family in Carrot River had a close call Monday morning, as the current from a lightning strike shot straight through their home. 

The lightning storm happened around 6:15 a.m., and no one inside the home was hurt. According to Carrot River Fire and Rescue, there was damage to the home as well as the vehicles parked in the driveway. The cost of the damage is still being assessed.

Several other places in the town were also hit by lightning Monday morning, resulting in two transformers going down and an unplanned disruption to the town's water system lasting approximately 80 minutes. All services have since been restored.

 

--With files from Nigel Maxwell

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