Lightning hits Winnipeg apartment during thunderstorm

A booming and unexpected thunderstorm that packed fierce lightning and heavy rain barged through Winnipeg Friday morning.
A truck makes its way through the pouring rain on Portage Avenue. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

A booming and unexpected thunderstorm that packed fierce lightning and heavy rain barged through Winnipeg Friday morning.

The sudden drenching hit at about 9 a.m. and caught a lot of people off-guard, coming on the heels of nearly two weeks of hot, dry weather.

Emergency crews were called to an apartment complex in The maples after it was struck by lightning on Friday. (CBC)
The rain pounded down for about an hour and the storm knocked out power to several areas. Just before 10 a.m., lightning struck an apartment complex on Adsum Drive in The Maples neighbourhood.

One man who lives in the building told CBC News he heard a loud bang and saw a lightning flash. He said smoke could then be seen coming out of a third-floor laundry room.

Chuck Darling was sitting at his kitchen table in the building when the lightning hit.

"Knocked [the] fire alarms off," he said. "I was scared. Kind of nervous from the thunder. Not very often that I get that nervous."

Darling said he had seen the storm approaching. 

"I had just come from the store. Told the wife, I says 'there's black clouds over there, like blacker than billy be darned.' Hell, I knew it was coming."

No one was hurt but roads were blocked in the area for a while as emergency crews evacuated the building and investigated for fires.

A lightning strike on a hydro pole was also blamed for leaving more than 2,000 customers without power in north Winnipeg.

The skies opened up over Winnipeg on Friday morning, drenching the city. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)
Scott Powell with Manitoba Hydro said it affected an area from Redwood Avenue to Church Avenue and west of the Red River to St. Andrews Street.

Another 500 people were also without power in the Windsor Park area after another likely lightning strike there.

"There's always the possibility that you get a lightning strike on a pole which could either break a pole, burn it, cause one of our protection systems to engage and trip the line out or burn off an insulator," Powell said.

The rain eased up by 10:30 a.m. and a hot, humid afternoon is expected with temperatures hitting 31 C, according to CBC meteorologist John Sauder.

Rain will likely return on Saturday but not until late, most likely overnight into Sunday, Sauder said. Again, it will be hot and humid on Saturday at 29 C.

Temperatures will slip a bit during the early part of the week to 24 C or 25 C but then soar again by Wednesday and Thursday, reaching back up to 28 C.