Storm spares many, but lashes some

Written by  Jeff Green and Craig Bakay Monday, 24 September 2018 15:36
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In an instant, a powerful storm overturned boats and docks, and uprooted trees sending limbs crashing down on power lines, and a number of vehicles and houses in the vicinities of Arden, Sharbot Lake and Bolingbroke on Friday afternoon (September 21) In an instant, a powerful storm overturned boats and docks, and uprooted trees sending limbs crashing down on power lines, and a number of vehicles and houses in the vicinities of Arden, Sharbot Lake and Bolingbroke on Friday afternoon (September 21)

(Editors note - the storm in the Sharbot Lake has been categorised as a Downburst by Environment Canada. 3 tornadoes touched down in Eastern Ontario, two in the Ottawa/Gatineau are and one in Calabogie)

Friday’s wind storm left a path of destruction that went through the Township of Central Frontenac, resulting in all sorts of downed trees and electricity disruption in many areas.

One area particularly hard hit was Coutlee Point Lane, off the Shibley Road) on Sharbot Lake’s east basin, where an army of Hydro One vehicles, equipment and manpower was joined by local residents to clear brush and trees and get the power back on.

“We had 10 people sawing since 9 a.m.,” said property owner Guy MacLeod on Saturday afternoon. “The wind took my 3,000 pound boat and its 1,000 pound lift and deposited them upside down in the lake.

“They’re probably both write-offs.”

Macleod said that all in all 6 or 7 docks, at least one car and one boat were destroyed, and houses and garages were damaged, all on Coutlee Lane.

“It’s been a real community effort to get to people, make sure they are safe, and clear their laneways,” said MacLeod.

Nearby on Polar Bear Lake, Karen Burke, who has been house-sitting at a waterfront home, was watching the storm come in through the window but retreated to one of the bedrooms with the family dog.

“The dog was shaking so I tried to provide comfort. I could hear the wind and then some banging and smashing. It seemed like it lasted a long time but apparently it was only a few minutes.”

When she looked outside later, she found that the house had been spared, in the main, but at least a dozen mature pines were down between the house and the lake. There was damage to the dock, and some boats as well, the driveway and laneway were covered in fallen trees, and then there were the kayaks.

“The kayaks are nowhere to be found,” she said, “they could be underneath something or across the lake somewhere.”

Ken Waller, a resident on Polar Bear Lane, spent much of the weekend helping with the clean-up.

“The amazing thing is that most of the houses on our lane were not hit. Trees came down inches away from one house, feet away from another, but aside from completely blocking lanes, they tended to have missed the houses and vehicles,” he said.

Hydro was out all weekend, but restoration was scheduled for Sunday night.

The storm passed over the Tryon Road, coming from west of Road 38 before hitting Shibley Road. It took half of the roof off a house that straddles Tryon and 38, but before that it uprooted trees all along and near the road, and one clump landed on three vehicles in a driveway and took down the hydro pole that runs between the house and the road.

A woman at the house said she saw the storm come in and saw funnel clouds as the storm “seemed to bounce its way towards us,” she said.

Although Environment Canada has confirmed that tornadoes hit in the vicinity of Ottawa, the agency has not released any statement concerning other locations in Eastern Ontario.

Before hitting in Sharbot Lake, similar storm conditions occurred in the Arden area. Bull Lake, west of Arden, saw similar damage to waterfront properties as that reported on Shibley Road. The power was still out in that region on Sunday afternoon, with Hydro estimating it would be restored by midnight.

In Arden, the storm hit at the Kennebec Hall, damaging the flag and flagpole at the Cenotaph. In the hit and miss manner of the storm, the hall itself was left completely unscathed.

Similarly, drivers approaching Sharbot Lake from the South, have wondered what all the fuss is about, since there is little sign of any damage save for the lonely posts standing next to the Tryon Road, which are missing the road sign that was there until the storm picked it up and took it away.

Hydro crews worked throughout Saturday and Sunday to restore power throughout the region, and the whine of chainsaws was common as roads and laneways were cleared and trailers filled with firewood for the winter of 2020.

Although insurance adjusters will be kept busy evaluating the damage over the next few days, there were no reports of injury as the result of the storm.

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