All Saints Day, November 1st, not saintly at all! A spooktacular windstorm, which began on Halloween night, struck Laval residents with a fury. A clash of storm fronts created havoc, knocked over trees, downed power lines, and damaged homes.
Environment Canada’s weather office reported winds at times exceeding 100 kph. And, it wasn’t a question of “trick or treat”. Absolutely not a treat! According to meteorologists, most winds that cause damage at ground level are a result of outflow generated by a thunderstorm downdraft. The recent dangerous winds blowing through Laval, Greater Montreal, and in other affected regions are known as “straight-line” winds to differentiate their damaging impact from devastation caused by tornados.
In fact, damaging winds are classified as those exceeding 50-60 mph. Wind speeds can reach up to 100 mph and can extend hundreds of miles. And, here it came!
Hydro Quebec reported 24,902 power outages in Laval alone as of 2 pm as the powerful windstorm ripped through many city neighborhoods. On our Friday afternoon tour of several districts The Laval News (TLN) came across extensive damage to homes caused by flying debris, uprooted tempo shelters, toppled trees, flipped and shattered ceramic flower vases, damaged vehicles caused by flying objects crashing down from balconies. Trees and branches lined many streets making it hazardous for drivers to get through except for a single lane obstructed by bicycle lanes.
TLN was also blown away by harsh winds while examining the sorry-looking grounds and homes. Lots of sirens in the distance, and the carnage of trees visible everywhere. In Duvernay, yards and streets were littered with broken branches and debris, garbage and recycling bins strewn all over, waiting to be collected and returned to front yards, which we managed to do in many instances as a neighborly service to residents who surely were absent since very few were to be seen.
TLN was approached by the very few residents trying to tidy up the lawns and gardens around their homes. In casual conversation, a resident expressed heavy concern over hydro-power outages in many areas, with little knowledge of when Hydro-Quebec would restore electricity. Mr. Hebert, resident of Duvernay, was upset but reasonably optimistic “I’m aware that Hydro is sending crews out as quickly as possible to resolve the problem and to get people back online, which is really appreciated.”
Another resident, who wished not to be identified, whose home was struck and damaged by an uprooted plastic garage adjacent to his property advised people to be more cautious when securing these seasonal installations. “They must ensure that they are firm and stationary to avoid these types of accidents. The weather is so volatile that we never know when it will turn,” he stated.
In Chomedey, a misfortune for Chris Giannini and his girlfriend who both had their antique cars destroyed by heavy flying objects from balconies at his residence. Chris stated, “I’ll never get back the true value for those cars which I handled with golden gloves,” he stated, adding that the condo association did not warn residents to remove all furniture or objects from their balconies. “I never received anything from the association. Sadly, now, I probably have two cars that are totaled because of it.” He also said that other parked cars also suffered the same fate, although not as bad.
TLN noted that in general Lavallers have been very respectful and understanding although worried and frightened by the unforgiving spooky windstorm.