Storm unleashes destruction

Friday storm left a mess behind in townships, with homeowners’ roofs appearing to get the worst of it

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The townships, along with much of southern Ontario, were battered on May 4 by strong gusts of wind that snapped trees, downed hydro wires and blocked roadways across the region. Winds reached a peak of 122 km/h in the Waterloo Region as a result of a storm system that tracked north and east from the U.S.

Municipal crews were out Friday and on the weekend to clear township roadways and assess the damage, while homeowners tended to roof shingles lifted by the winds.

In Elmira, a tree at Gore Park fell onto a vehicle on Arthur Street, reportedly missing the driver.

“Well what happened on Friday was courtesy of a low-pressure system that actually tracked north of the region,” said Ryan Rozinskis, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

“We did have some showers pass through early in the morning ahead of the system, along with the warm front which ended up bringing in the warm air, which allowed for the development of some thunderstorms through the afternoon.

“So we saw those go through the Waterloo area around 2:30 p.m. and along with those we did see a peak of around 80 km/h,” explained Rozinski.

“Then in behind that line of thunderstorms, that’s when the stronger winds actually came. And those were along with the cold front, and those actually didn’t accompany any showers or any precipitation of any kind,” he said, with the winds reaching up to 122 km/h in the region.

The stormy weather left a mess in its wake.

“We had a couple of roads closed in the village of Wellesley. One of them was Gerber Road because hydro wires were ripped down and a tree branch took them down,” said Charlie Koebel, lead hand for the Township of Wellesley, adding the road was closed likely overnight. David Street similarly was partially blocked by downed hydro wires, but was cleared the same day.

Farther out in the township, road 116 was blocked by a fallen tree for a few hours.

“Basically, the rest of the township was just tree branches, little stuff, and signs broke off. Lots of shingles off roofs,” he added.

As of Monday, township building inspectors had not received any calls of major structural damage to homes though.

“We also had the crew in and we patrolled all the roads at that time just to be sure we had everything pretty well looked after,” added Koebel.

In Woolwich, township  roads fared a bit better, with no closures necessary thanks to the assistance of local farmers.

“There were a couple of instances where we had trees that had been reported that had blocked the roads, but the farmers came and shoved them off,” said Barry Baldasaro, public works superintendent for Woolwich. He added that the township was still responding to calls as of Monday, however.

The Region of Waterloo says tree debris may be disposed off during the curbside yard waste collection program. The debris has to be kept under three feet in length and must be bound with twine in bundles under 50 lbs.