With the return of nice weather Wednesday, the cleanup begins for many families dealing with wind or water damage from severe storms.
Between Monday and Tuesday, parts of southern Saskatchewan were hit by three to four inches of rain and in some places, the wind was gusting up to 80 or even 100 kilometres per hour.
In Ogema, about 120 kilometres southwest of Regina, the wind was clocked at more than 100 kilometres an hour.
“As far as the damage goes in town here, anything that wasn’t tied down has moved or is gone,” said Wayne Myner, mayor of Ogema.
The wind was strong enough to topple trees, push over fences and wrap a full size trampoline around a tree. Myner said most of the damage was to trees around the town, but one large tree did fall on top of two vehicles.
“It’s just a cleanup, everybody digs in and rakes your yard, cleans up the loose trees – town men are around picking up trees,” he said. “Everybody bands together and gets things done.”
Cleanup after storms like this can be big business. Mike Payne is a sales and marketing manager for Restorex Disaster Restoration in Regina. He said the calls are coming in fast but it’s not nearly as bad as it has been in the past few summers.
“This year it’s been a little bit different than what we’ve been dealing with in the last three previous years. We haven’t seen these sort of storms come through where a large amount of homes have been damaged,” he said.
Payne said last year the company was often dealing with several hundred claims at the same time but this week there have been about 30 to 40 calls. He notes that Moose Jaw was hit particularly hard by rain.
“This was the first storm where we’ve seen a significant amount of rainfall that caused the normal city lines to back up into individuals’ basements,” Payne said.
Restorex has also taken a few dozen calls for wind damage claims for people who had shingles or siding ripped off their homes by the wind.
SaskPower received 16,000 calls to report power outages in a 24-hour period between Tuesday and Wednesday morning.
The utility doesn’t have a total count of power outages across the province. In most cases, the lights went out when tree branches hit power lines. In a few places, the wind was strong enough to bring down power poles; those are the areas that may have lost power for more than an hour or two.