Thunderstorms hammer southern Saskatchewan

People in parts of southern Saskatchewan woke up to damaged trees, houses, and in some cases, missing sheds and lawn furniture following a violent summer storm Friday night.

Homes, trees damaged by strong winds in White City and Balgonie, east of Regina

People in parts of southern Saskatchewan woke up to damaged trees, houses, and in some cases, missing sheds and lawn furniture following a violent summer storm Friday night. 

Environment Canada said the storm dropped hail in some western areas of the province before making its way to Regina. 

Meteorologist David Baggaley said the city officially got 37 mm of rain, but some areas of the city could have received much more. 

Winds during the overnight storm reached 95 km/h, but Baggaley noted the figures were likely higher in areas to the east. 

Roof comes loose

Ray Hill's White City, Sask., home was badly damaged when a roof from across the street came off and slammed into it.

Hill said when it was clear the storm was going to get worse before it got better, his wife suggested they head to the basement as a precaution.

Ray Hill cleans up debris after strong winds snatched his neighbour's roof and smashed it into his White City, Sask., home. (CBC/Tory Gillis)
"No sooner said that, his roof come off, and slammed into our house," Hill said. "Sounded like a bomb went off."

It left a metres-long gash in his roof, which he later discovered was letting in rain.

"Kind of heartbreaking," Hill said. "Been here six years. Built it ourselves. Hope we don't have to do it again."

"We had people calling," said John Hastings, who lives near White City. He wasn't home when the storm hit. 

"They said, 'You'd better get home, there's a big problem here.' We pulled up to our yard and didn't even recognize our yard."

Hastings said the area was badly damaged, including a neighbour's home, which was missing a section of its roof. 

"One's lost a major shop. A 30 by 40 shop that's completely gone," he said. 

We pulled up to our yard and didn't even recognize our yard.- John Hastings

The town of White City said crews spent much of the night clearing trees and debris from streets. 

In nearby Balgonie, the fire department put out a call for volunteers early on Saturday. Anyone with a spare chainsaw, truck, or just a willingness to help out was asked to report to the local fire station.

Although there were reports of a tornado in the White City and Balgonie areas, Environment Canada said it appears the damage was caused by a straight-line wind. 

Festival halted over storm fears

Organizers at the Regina Folk Festival, which attracts thousands of people to the city's Victoria Park, put the main stage show on hold as the storm approached. 

The call was made not long before the night's final act, the Sam Roberts Band, was to take to the stage. 

As a backup plan, organizers tweeted that the band would in fact play at the Exchange, an indoor venue. 

The idea was short-lived as the storm knocked out power, cancelling the main stage performance altogether. 

Despite an early flight, the band did play later at the festival after party, after the storm had passed. 

The main stage acts were set to resume Saturday evening at 6 p.m. CST. 


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