Property damaged, trees 'eviscerated' in powerful western Manitoba storm, farmer says

A serious storm in Westman has resulted in thousands of acres of crops lost, lots of property damage, but thankfully, no injuries.

Eric McLean’s social media post says it all.

“God tried to clear Oak River off the map,” the western Manitoba farmer tweeted Wednesday night, “but it’s still there.”

McLean, who farms nearby, had a front-row seat to a devastating storm that ripped through the area, costing him 2,000 acres of crops, thanks to strong winds and hail.

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“We have a seed business and a large farm east of Oak River,” McLean told 680 CJOB’s The Start.

“When we looked at the radar pattern on Environment Canada radar, it showed a big purple blob that was moving southeasterly on the direction from the Hamiota line through to us.

“Sometimes these things dissipate and they’re done, but not this one. It came through.”

McLean said his property was hit by quarter-sized hail, causing “big time devastation” to crops, but it may have been spared the full brunt of the storm which appears to have hit an area to the west the hardest.

“As you go west of Oak River, there’s a storm path that clearly indicates something bad happened there.

“We have a landlord on the west side of town. … His yard site, his trees were completely eviscerated, and all the windows were knocked out on his house.

“There’s lots of damage to everybody’s house in town, … windows and whatnot.”

For McLean, the timing couldn’t be much worse. He had recently checked on his crops and they were doing well before getting obliterated by the storm.

“It’s like as if I got picked on,” he said.

“I try not to be too down in the dumps, … but that hail and that wind action is effectively just like sandblasting, so it takes off all the top growth.

“Then when you throw the rain on top of it as it pounds, the loose soil gets perforated and popped up, just like percolating coffee, and so it covers over any vegetative mass.”

To add insult to injury, he said, another thunderstorm moved into the area early Thursday, hammering the region with even more rain.

“We (had been) joking around because we were parched and looking for rain,” he said.

“We will definitely control our enthusiasm next time to want to wish for this kind of thing.”

The good news: the damage throughout the area, from what McLean has been able to tell, appears to be limited to property and vehicles.

“As far as we know, there was no loss of life and nobody injured, and that’s the important thing.”


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