Mother Nature's light show packs a punch

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Multiple storm bands barrelled across much of Chatham-Kent Friday evening lighting up the sky with a show to rival a first of July firework show.

It also wreaked havoc taking out power lines, blocking road ways and damaging houses and vehicles as the accompanying straight-line winds knocked trees and large branches to the ground.

“We were sitting on the porch, there was beautiful lightning going on everywhere,” said Steve Murphy. “But it really got intense. (The tree) was struck by lighting. All of a sudden we saw all the transformers starting to blow because the tree took the wires down over there. We thought there was a tornado coming through”

Murphy, who lives on Talbot Street West in Blenheim, and his family, heading the tornado warning issued by Environment Canada, quickly headed down into the basement for safety

“You can see where it's just sheared right off,” he said. “We didn't feel it but we heard it it was intense you heard the crack of it hitting the tree. It was really quite something.”

Murphy said the storms came in three or four waves with periods of just lightning between intense bands of rain.

Jane Callow, who lives on Chatham Street North in Blenheim, was up until midnight bailing four inches of rain from the basement of her fourplex apartment.

“The storm drain backed up into my basement so we were bailing water out with two small shop vacs,” said Callow. “It was so bad last night it was coming back up through my drain sink for my washing machine. It filled it right back up and it was overflowing as well.”

Callow said they moved furniture and the computer upstairs and tried to get all the storage items up high but she has no idea how much of her possessions have been damaged.

“I went down (this morning) and looked, it's not too bad,” she said. “I still have a rug down there that I have to clean up. There's probably going to be a lot of stuff going to the road this week because it got damaged.”

Many residents in the Shrewsbury area awoke to the realization they now had waterfront properties where creeks and culverts had overflowed unable to handle the sudden deluge of rain.

“I didn't think it would be this bad, it was right over the road this morning. We got her good,” said John Nichol, who owns two cottages on Victoria Street, which were surrounded by water Saturday morning.

He said the cottages escaped damage but his septic was flooded and his riding mower and four wheel vehicles in his garage had water up to the seat.

Around the corner on Metcalfe Street Charlene Vaughan's children were taking full advantage of their new pond by canoeing and paddling on a floating dock.

“We've been out since early this morning making the most of it before it's gone,” said Vaughan. “It's going down really fast now.”

Vaughan, who's lived in Shrewsbury for 15 years can't remember a time the flooding was this bad.

“It gets pretty high, but this would be the worst,” she said.

Several customers in the Chatham-Kent area were without power and crews with Entegrus and Hydro One were out in force starting from about 8 p.m. to help deal with downed power lines and blown transformers.

As of Saturday evening a number of customers in Blenheim and surrounding areas were without power.




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