Sunday storm leaves trail of damaged buildings, shattered windshields across Saskatchewan

Intense winds tore the roof from Carrie's Kitchen, a diner in Carrot River. (Randy Schmidt/Facebook - image credit)
Intense winds tore the roof from Carrie's Kitchen, a diner in Carrot River. (Randy Schmidt/Facebook - image credit)

Communities in southern and central Saskatchewan were slammed by a storm late Sunday, peppering them with hail and tearing roofs from some buildings.

"I've been in that house for 25 years and never seen something like that hit," said Randy Schmidt, a resident in Carrot River, located about 244 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.

"I thought the west windows of the house were going to pop out, that's how hard it was hitting."

Schmidt said there are snapped power poles and  downed power lines in the town, and sections of roof that were torn from homes. Schmidt said a large portion of the roof from the local diner, Carrie's Kitchen, was ripped off and flung more than 20 metres away.

Randy Schmidt said several homes in Carrot River had sections of roof ripped off from the winds that swept through the town.
Randy Schmidt said several homes in Carrot River had sections of roof ripped off from the winds that swept through the town.

Heavy winds peeled shingles from several homes in Carrot River. (Randy Schmidt/Facebook)

At his farm just outside of town, Schmidt said, there was barely any evidence a storm had swept through the area beyond some hail pellets and a half-inch of rain, while some others outside Carrot River got hammered.

"Town hall got hit really hard, campers are flipped," Schmidt said.

Schmidt counted himself lucky because the only tree that split near his home missed his daughter's car.

The storm lasted 20 minutes, and as soon as it passed the stars were shining, he said.

However, it has left the town and surrounding rural communities without electricity, according to SaskPower. Crews are expect to work throughout the day, but there is no time frame for full restoration.

According to Environment  Canada meteorologist Terri Lang, Estevan, located about 16 kilometres north of the Canada-U.S. border, had wind gusts reaching more than 100 km/h.

"There's golf ball-sized hail stones coming out of that same storm, so you're going to get a lot of damage when you have hail stones driven at that wind speed," Lang said.

That storm severity led to smashed windshields, according to Shelley Schlamp, who works at a local filling station in Estevan. She said the hail on her deck was larger than golf balls.

"My fellow employees — the one, her back window got smashed out and the other one, her windshield got all cracked and everything."

The system covered a large area of the province, with scattered storms throughout, blasting communities such as Carrot River and Estevan while skimming through others, including Saskatoon. The northern grain belt was hit hardest, Lang said, in places including North Battleford and Prince Albert, as well as communities in the southeast.

Lang said Environment Canada hasn't confirmed any tornadoes touched down in Saskatchewan. However, the straight line winds that tore across the province can cause more damage in a much larger area than a tornado can.