Intense storm hammers Olds

The community of Olds is cleaning up after an intense rain and hail storm flooded several intersections and damaged natural landscaping on Tuesday afternoon.

The community of Olds is cleaning up after an intense rain and hail storm flooded several intersections and damaged natural landscaping on Tuesday afternoon.

The heavy downpour began at about 4 p.m. and after 15 minutes, it was done, but not without causing some mess.

Scott Chant, manager of utilities and public works for the Town of Olds, said at least 40 mm of rain fell in the short time according to rain gauges distributed around town.

“That was probably as much as the rain gauge could catch until the hail hit,” said Chant on Wednesday.

“From reports of some residents who have lived in the community for a number of years, it’s probably the worst storm they’ve seen in this town.”

The intense amount of rain in such a short time is what residents hadn’t seen before, said Chant.

About half of the town, or the southern side of Olds, was hit with pea-sized hail that plugged off catch basins and destroyed plants. The other half didn’t get any hail, Chant added.

There was so much rain in such a short time that the storm system was filled to capacity. It couldn’t take the water anymore.

In some instances, wood chips that had been in people’s flower beds had washed onto the streets. This would plug the drains as well, Chant said.

“It just compounded the problem.”

The storm water was running along Hwy 27, which runs through town, so fast that it actually blew the man covers right off, said Chant.

Chant said that streets a day later are littered with debris such as leaves damaged by hail, wood shavings, and dirt. No big objects were left on the road.

Four civic employees were kept busy for a couple of hours on Tuesday night, unplugging catch basins.

Several intersections were under about 0.6 metres of water.

The town wasn’t hearing of any major damage to infrastructure or homes, said Chant.

Chant said some new construction experienced basement flooding, including the Mountain View Credit Union which had staff successfully pump out the water Tuesday.

Several trees blew over in the town’s cemetery.

“Just south of Olds, we had a power pole hit by lightning so the fire department was called out for that,” said Chant.

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