Storm reeks havoc in southeast


The grounds and ball diamonds at Friedensfeld Hall, south of Steinbach were nearly destroyed by strong winds on June 26.

By Marianne Curtis

   A series of sever wind and rains storms over the weekend of June 26 and 27 caused an undetermined amount of damage in the communities of Steinbach, Friedensfeld, La Broquerie, Marchand and Woodridge.

   Anita Mitchell, spokesperson from Manitoba Hydro says that power was out in many areas with about 1,500 customers without service for at least twelve hours.

   “A number of trees were snapped, power lines were down, some vacant transmission lines into that area were also affected,” stated Mitchell. “It is a massive cleanup operation.”

   She added the hydro crews were called in from St. Pierre and La Broquerie to assist the Steinbach crews in reestablishing power to the area. This included reinstalling at least a dozen hydro poles that snapped along Highway #12 south of Steinbach.

   About 8:30 on Saturday evening, rain blew into the area from the north and pelted the some areas of the southeast with rain and strong winds.

   Rob Fast, along with hundreds of guests was celebrating his godfather’s 50th wedding anniversary in the Friedensfeld Hall, just south of Steinbach when the storm hit.

   “We were half way through the service when there was a big gust of wind, our ears popped and the front doors of the hall went flying open,” stated Fast. “There is big time damage here and I think it was a small twister.” 

   A horse barn west of the Friedenfeld Hall lost it’s roof and a horse trailer was tossed on flipped onto its side at the bottom of the ditch about a half mile south of the farm.

   Residents along Kokomo Road in the RM of La Broquerie say it sounded like a locomotive when high winds tore through the area.

   “We were packing when it suddenly got really loud,” explained Mike Wood. “When I looked out the window and saw trees snapping like match sticks I grabbed my family and headed under the stairs until it was over.” Upon immerging the majority of pine trees throughout the yard were laying in rows across the lawn.

   Minor injuries were sustained when an outdoor tent wedding along Hespler Road, on the east side of Steinbach was interrupted by the winds. Groom Brad McColm says that his family was just finishing up the ceremony at their wedding when the storm kicked up.

   “We were just clearing off the dance floor of tables so we could dance when the wind picked up so fast that we couldn’t get everyone out in time,” stated McColm. “We had one gentleman that was picked up and taken to the hospital and he will need surgery but basically we had many bumps and bruises.”

   Environment Canada says that there was heavy rain and heavy winds, but no confirmed tornadoes anywhere in southern Manitoba Saturday.

   “Over 90 km/h in Steinbach — it definitely was a severe event,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Mark Gerlyand. “We had rain and hail and definitely, it was a strong wind at Steinbach.” 

Stately pine trees were snapped off like matchsticks in the Marchand Park and campground.

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