'Swirling' wind storm hits Grand Lake area property

A squall knocked down mature trees and sent lawn chairs flying in circles Sunday afternoon at a cottage on Grand Lake, owned by Helen Dykeman and Gabe Gibson.

Trees downed, vehicle damaged by sudden storm Sunday afternoon

A violent wind storm downed several trees at a cottage at Grand Lake Sunday afternoon, while almost ignoring neighbouring properties. (Submitted by Helen Dykeman)

A squall knocked down mature trees and sent lawn chairs flying in circles Sunday afternoon at a cottage on Grand Lake owned by Helen Dykeman and Gabe Gibson.

"What struck me most was the swirling wind on the lawn," said Dykeman, a summer resident of 17 Pinecone Lane in Waterborough.

"It was tossing the lawn furniture and branches off the trees around in a circle."

A lawn chair flew from the beach at Grand Lake to into this vehicle, according to Helen Dykeman. (Submitted by Helen Dykeman)

That's when Dykeman noticed trees going down. Six cedars and oaks were either uprooted or broken off, she said.

The violent gust was localized, seeming to target the Dykeman and Gibson property and only breezing by their neighbours.

Dykeman said she'd heard a weather warning and was looking across the lake for approaching rain, when a violent wind and hailstones suddenly hit.

It happened so quickly, she said, she didn't have time to react.

Several mature cedars and oaks were knocked down in Helen Dykeman's yard in Waterborough by a sudden squall. (Submitted by Helen Dykeman)
One of their vehicles was damaged by lawn furniture that had been blown about 30 metres from the beach, she said. Other chairs flew farther — she estimates 150 metres. And a storage box was blown off her deck.

The squall lasted only two or three minutes, Dykeman said.

When the wind subsided, the sun came out.

The damage was mostly within a path 15 metres by 30 metres, she said. Her neighbours saw only some strong wind and a few broken branches.

"I was I guess quite shocked when it happened and realized that we'd been struck with something." she said.

Environment Canada meteorologists, including a severe weather specialist in Halifax, have analyzed radar imagery along with Dykeman's photographs and her account of the storm, and do not believe it was a tornado.

"It looks like it was a severe thunderstorm, but there was no tornadic activity," said Claude Côté.

It was perhaps just some weaker trees and very strong wind gusts, he said.