Wild weekend weather causes extensive damage in Eastern P.E.I.

Last Friday’s intense hail storm caused extensive damage in eastern P.E.I., and now farmers in the area are left to assess their losses.

Farmers' fields, local church affected by hail and rain storms

Island Potato farmer Peter Townshend says last Friday's hail storm came as a setback to his business. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Last Friday's intense hail storm caused extensive damage in eastern P.E.I., and now farmers in the area are left to assess their losses.

At the height of the storm, which also saw thunder and lightning rip across the Island, more than 20,000 customers in communities across the Island lost power.

Peter Townshend is one of the people affected by the weekend's bad weather. The Rollo Bay, P.E.I.,-based farmer said he figures he lost about a million pounds of potatoes due to the hail.

"I'd say this field is probably 90 per cent defoliated," Townshend said. "This field would have been a solid canopy of green and the hail just pretty well ruined this particular field."

This potato field is one of several reported damaged during last Friday's hail storm. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Business setback

Townshend has about 100 acres of potatoes on the Howe Point Road. He said while the crop was not a total loss, the damage has come as a setback to his business.

"We have a customer whose counting on these potatoes … the idea of getting a good crop out of these potatoes is gone out the window already," he said. "The best we can hope for is a modest crop."

According to Townshend, he and fellow farmers have begun the process of notifying their crop insurance agencies about their losses. Damages were also reported in Murray Harbour North, P.E.I.

Lightning storm damages Island church

Farmers aren't the only ones reeling from the weekend's messy weather.

The tower of St. Patrick's Church in Fort Augustus in Central P.E.I. was struck by lightning during the storm.

The St. Patrick's Church in Fort Augustus, P.E.I., was struck by lightning last weekend. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

A section of the building's roof was torn up and brick work was also damaged.

Pat Duffy, chairman of the church's property and finance committee, said church officials aren't sure yet how much it will cost to make necessary repairs to the building since engineers are still assessing the damages.

"There'll have to be some funds definitely raised to help with this expense," Duffy said. "Every year we try to do a fundraiser and there will certainly be greater emphasis for this time around."

With files from Brian Higgns