Residents weather big storm in style

Lots of hail and rain but no serious damage reported in city on Sunday

When Stephen Ross’s family saw the waters rising outside their Sunnybrook home they saw an opportunity — street canoeing.

“We wanted to get the canoe into the road before it drained,” said Ross with a laugh. “You don’t get to do that that often.

“It was pretty fun.”

His corner of Sherwood Crescent became a makeshift lake as the storm sewer just couldn’t keep up. He captured it all on video and shared it on social media, which was soon deluged with weather-related video and photos.

“I think the deepest spot we found was about mid-thigh high,” he said.

To protect himself from the hail, his nephew, Josh Baer, had the foresight to grab a hard hat. Stephen’s sons, Sam and Tom also got in on the paddling action before the water drained away.

At one point, a motorist found driving had turned to fording.

“He submerged his whole hood. The water was right up on his windshield before he managed to get stopped,” said Stephen.

Fortunately, the driver was able to back out before he officially became a U-boat commander.

“It was touch and go. He’s lucky.”

Environment Canada meteorologist Kirk Torneby said a weather system full of cold air moved in from B.C. generating thunderstorms, the strongest of which ranged from south of Edmonton through the Red Deer area.

“In terms of hail, there were lots of reports of golf ball-sized hail in and around Red Deer,” he said, adding it ranged from Ponoka and Camrose to Bowden and Innisfail areas.

“A little bit further north there were reports of hen egg-sized hail in Wetaskiwin and tennis ball-sized hail in Bashaw.”

As the storm tracked east, the wind became the big story. Gusts hit 91 km/h in Stettler and 96 km/h in Crestomere.

Although it poured in some areas, the amount of rain at Environment Canada stations was only measured around five to 10 mm.

Monday morning’s cold temperatures represented the tail end of the storm system blowing through. Temperatures are expected to return to normal — low to mid-20s — as the week goes on. There is a chance of more thunderstorms later in the week.

Amateur storm chaser Victoria Wight made sure she had her camera with her as she headed out to drop off a friend during the storm.

She managed to capture dramatic photos of a flaming tree, ignited by a toppled power line in the Terrace Park area in Eastview around 9:30 p.m.

“People were running right underneath it. I thought,’probably not a good idea.’

“I wanted to take a cool picture but I didn’t want to get electrocuted.”

The fire didn’t spread far beyond the power line and tree before it was put out.

City of Red Deer Electric, Light and Power manager Jim Jorgenson said around 200 homes were without power for a few hours in Eastview.

A branch came down on another power line a few blocks to the west, but other than that there was no other damage reported.

pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

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