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A series of storms went through the Melfort, Nipawin and Carrot River, Sask., area on Thursday, according to Environment Canada. 

“With those storms, we got reports of heavy rain, large hail and strong winds,” said Terri Lang, meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Lang said there’s no evidence of a tornado yet, but they are still gathering information. 

“The fact that it’s pretty widespread across a very large area would indicate that it’s more of a plough wind situation. Tornado damage is usually really localized,” Lang said. 

Janet McMartin was in the Melfort Co-op parking lot at the weekly farmers market when the winds started picking up. 

“All of a sudden, it came up, the wind, and it just started to take everything,” McMartin said. “It started pouring and everybody was just scattering everywhere.” 

About five or six vendor tents were ruined beyond repair, but the people at the market were fine, she said. McMartin’s sister sells homemade baking, jams and more. Most of her products were taken by the wind. The tent will be $400 to replace, McMartin said. 

The storm at the market lasted about 15 minutes. (Submitted by Janet McMartin)

“Everybody was just out there and everybody was screaming and it was quite the sight. We didn’t know what was really happening because, wow, it was, just the wind was just so strong that it was just blowing everything,” she said. “It was horrible.”

The entire storm lasted about 15 minutes and involved high winds, rain and hail, McMartin said. 

Winds were recorded by Environment and Climate Change Canada of about 128 kilometres per hour. Lang said people often don’t know plough winds can have the same wind speeds as a tornado. 

Ryan Edwards posted about the storm damage on his farm on Twitter. Edwards farms in the Arborfield, Sask., area. (Ryan Edwards/Twitter)

“They can do a lot more damage over a much larger area,” Lang said. “We’re hoping to get more information from people if they can send it.” 

People can submit images and video by posting on social media with ‘#skstorm’ or emailing skstorm@canada.ca 

Lang said she wouldn’t be surprised if there were more damage reports in the north as the plough winds moved that direction last night. 

Lang is asking people to watch for storm watches and warnings in their area as the summer continues. A watch is when there are the ingredients for a storm; a warning is when it’s time to take action. 

“We’re right in the heart of severe weather season,” she said.

Lang said one contributing factor is the amount of moisture being given off by growing crops, which can contribute to severe storms. 

People should head to a basement or central room without windows in the event of severe weather, as many injuries happen due to flying debris, Lang said. 



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