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'It looks like bullet holes': Hail damage, flooding in wake of Saskatoon storm

CBC logo CBC 2017-07-11 Alicia Bridges
A Montgomery area resident wades through flooding after a thunderstorm that has caused flooding in many parts of Saskatoon. © Jessica Leith A Montgomery area resident wades through flooding after a thunderstorm that has caused flooding in many parts of Saskatoon.

Saskatoon residents were coming to terms with damages caused by a major hail storm that pummeled the city Monday night, leaving vehicles stranded and one home covered in holes.

Heavy hail turned some neighbourhoods white and flooding shut down intersections after a heavy downpour shortly after 6 p.m. CST.

Residents banded together to help free stranded vehicles in Nutana, where whole intersections were underwater.

Water levels were also high at the corner of Confederation Drive and Laurier Drive, which police shut down while the water receded.

With streets submerged, some residents amused their neighbours by paddling a canoe down the road.  

But others were coming to terms with extensive damage caused by hail stones as big as quarters.

Carol Whitecalf, who lives about 10 kilometres south of Saskatoon in Corman Park, said she realized how powerful the storm was when she saw the wind blowing trees "horizontal."

"The wind was super strong and that's when I got a little bit scared and sent the kids downstairs because the trees were all horizontal in the front," she said.

"The rain was horizontal and I just said 'OK kids, that's it. We better go downstairs, this is a little more than a regular storm.'"

When she emerged from her home after the storm, she found the back wall of the house peppered with holes.

"It looks like bullet holes in the back of my house along the entire wall," said Whitecalf.

"It's right through, right to the insulation.

"All I looked at was the back and I came in and had to sit down and think about it for a few minutes before I go out and see what else is damaged."

A further 15 to 20 millimetres of rain is expected in Saskatoon overnight. The city was one of many parts of the province subject to extreme weather alerts Monday evening. 

Tornado watches issued earlier in the day were cancelled but storm watches and warnings remained in place late in the evening.  

Meteorologists said dangerous thunderstorms could develop in south central Saskatchewan, capable of producing damaging wind gusts, damaging hail and torrential rain. 

The weather agency says severe thunderstorms can produce tornadoes. Other risks include very large hail, very strong wind gusts, heavy downpours and lightning.

The City of Saskatoon said its crews were responding to power outages, lifted manhole covers and flooded streets. 

Saskatoon Light and Power said there were four major outages Monday night, including two caused by lightning strikes.

One of those was in the Haultain, Adelaide/Churchill and Nutana Park area, and the other was in the central industrial area.

An outage in Riversdale was caused by tree contacts and another at Station 20 West happened when equipment was damaged by the storm.

Power to all four areas was restored by 10 p.m. CST.

The agency said updates are available at the City of Saskatoon website or on its Twitter account.

The city said lifted manhole covers should be reported to public works customer service at 306-975-2476.

Watches and warnings are being updated frequently. Visit the Environment Canada website for more information.

Saskatchewan residents can send extreme weather photos, video or information to sasknews@cbc.ca. 

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