While many thunderstorms bypassed the Winnipeg area through much of the summer, the 'week' of July 25 to August 3 was an exception. For once, storms were actually hitting the area bringing beneficial rainfall, but did not come without consequences.
|Steinbach, by Steinbachonline.com (more pics with this link)|
Just to show how isolated the event was, not a drop of rain was recorded just 20 km south of town. Very little rain fell just west and north of the city as well with barely a drop in Ste. Anne.
Here are some videos of the flooding in Steinbach: Video 1 Video 2
July 29 featured the worst thunderstorms of the summer for the Winnipeg area. A strong cold front sliced through a hot and humid air mass that was in place across southern Manitoba. Daytime highs were in the mid thirties and with the humidex it felt like 40. Severe thunderstorms began to spark off in the Swan River and Roblin areas late morning and early afternoon. Large hail, damaging winds and torrential downpours were the main stories in the area west of Lake Manitoba through the afternoon. Hail as large as loonies and quarters fell, and in some areas lasted about 15 minutes, enough to accumulate on the ground. Excessive rainfall fell in some regions, with 65 mm reported in Garland and 75 mm in Amaranth.
The storms then began to organise and group together to form a line, tracking southeastwards across Lake Manitoba late afternoon and reaching the RRV and southeastern Manitoba by evening.
Extreme straight-line winds was perhaps the most memorable part of the storms. Gusts exceeded 90 km/h in many communities, and exceeded 118 km/h at Twin Lakes Beach and reached 150 km/h in St Laurent! Damage was widespread, including in Winnipeg where winds reached 98 km/h at the airport, and likely were even stronger in other parts of the city.
South of Lake Manitoba, between Marquette and Poplar Point, 12 cars of a 56-car train derailed as winds blew them over near 6:30 pm.
|Twigs/branches litter some areas, pic by Shane Gibson/Metro|
|Just before hitting Winnipeg, pic by @jdderk|
In Pinawa, winds uprooted 9-12 m tall trees! Shingles and roofs were ripped as well.
A group of 7 Ontario girls canoeing on the Bloodvein River near Lake Winnipeg got a bit of scare as well. One of the girls, 23 years old, was hit by lightning. In addition, another one, 15 years old, got an electric shock while holding on to one of the canoes as they were pulling them ashore. After sending a GPS distress signal, a helicopter with two Mounties arrived bringing the 23 year old to Winnipeg hospital, suffering only minor injuries. The 15 year old was not hurt.
|Poles toppled, pic by Lorraine Nickel/Global|
Power outages were scattered all over southern Manitoba as winds toppled hydro poles. In fact, as much as 26,000 were without power in the Fort Rouge neighbourhood of Winnipeg, a thousand in Selkirk and thousands more across Winnipeg and the rest of southern Manitoba. Many outages were restored by the next morning, but thousands were still offline in Winnipeg and the Whiteshell. 2 days after the storm, 60 homes were still out of power in the city as were 140 homes outside the city. Some residents in the Whiteshell area had to wait until the first week of August to return online.
Hail was also damaging around Winnipeg with quarter to loonie sized hail in Charleswood and St. James, as well as in some areas outside of the city. Hail as large as golf balls fell in La Salle and Zhoda, while ping pong sized hail fell 3 km west of Piney.
|Golf ball sized hail in La Salle, pic by Kayla Wright, submitted to Metro Winnipeg|
Unfortunately, August 1 was almost a repeat performance for areas north of Winnipeg. Severe thunderstorms formed over the Parklands and northern Interlake regions early afternoon. Loonie to golf ball sized hail fell in these areas. As they tracked southeastward, similarly to July 29, they organised into a line. They reached the southern Interlake, the RRV and southeastern Manitoba by evening.
This time 'round, the hardest hit area was around the south basin of Lake Winnipeg. Winds reached 143 km/h in Grand Marais, near Grand Beach. In addition, golf ball sized hail fell in the area. The hail fell for a long time as well, enough to accumulate like snow according to residents. In Riverton, on the west shore north of Gimli, 90 mm of rain fell in about 30 minutes along with nickel sized hail and damaging winds making for a wicked storm. Streets were flooded, and there was hail and wind damage. Some trees were uprooted and power lines were down. Many people were without power in these areas for several hours.
Further south, the previously hard hit region of St Laurent recorded wind gusts of 97 km/h. In Winnipeg, a peak gust of 76 km/h was recorded at the airport, not extremely strong but enough to do some damage to branches and trees weakened by the storm just 3 days earlier.
|Aug 3 Winnipeg, pic by Leslie Barker; sent to TWN|
More heavy rainfall fell in the city the next morning dumping an additional 10 to 15 mm. All this rain was very beneficial to the drought conditions we were facing.
This post contains information, pictures or videos from the following sources:
Environment Canada Weatheroffice
A Weather Moment blog
The Weather Network
Twitter; @steinbachwx @jdderk