TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
Garry Nicol stands in front of a an evergreen tree on Monday that was uprooted and fell on his house on Sixth Street just north of Aberdeen Avenue during Saturday evening's severe thunderstorm.
Cleanup crews are still busy clearing debris after a severe thunderstorm ripped trees out of the ground and scattered branches all over parts of Brandon.
James Stewart, with the city’s parks and recreation department, works to clean up downed trees and branches from the Brandon Municipal Cemetery on Monday after the thunderstorm caused significant damage to the grounds, right. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
Downed trees in the Brandon Municipal Cemetery. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
Arbourist Chris Saborowski with Bee EZ Tree Service packs down wood chips in a trailer while working to remove fallen trees from the yard of Garry Nicol on Sixth Street just north of Aberdeen Avenue on Monday. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
The near 80 km/h winds brought on by Saturday night’s storm were strong enough to uproot and push a near 60-foot evergreen tree onto Garry Nicol’s Sixth Street home.
"It’s the most popular tree in Brandon," Nicol said with a smile, adding nearly 200 pictures had been snapped of the tree covering the left side of his roof since Saturday night. "Evergreens are soft ... If I was going to have a tree come down on the roof, that was actually the best choice."
By Monday afternoon, tree branches still covered Nicol’s front and back yards, like many others in Brandon’s south end, which seemed to be hit hardest by Saturday’s storm.
Although several volunteers helped him remove some of the mess Sunday, Nicol was still waiting to track down an arborist to help with the bulk of it.
Chris Saborowski, an arbourist with Bee EZ Tree Service, was seen helping with cleanup efforts along Sixth Street yesterday. He said they’ve been flooded with calls following two massive weekend storms.
"It’s been pretty frantic," Saborowski said, adding Saturday’s storm damage was the worst he has ever seen. "There’s spruce trees snapped in half midway up, there’s whole trees pulled out of the ground — it’s unreal."
Although he was pleased to see volunteers removing trees and debris blanketing yards and covering city streets, Saborowski advises those helping out to be cautious of the dangers involved.
"There’s a lot of risk in a situation like this where people are really eager to help," he said. "A downed tree is a spring-loaded death trap. There’s so much weight ... who’s to say what’s going to go where when you cut that."
Other areas ravaged by the storm included the Keystone Centre grounds near where the annual folk festival is held, and the Brandon Municipal Cemetery, which presented a challenge for cleanup crews.
"You’ve got all the headstones and there’s not a lot of room and you don’t want to disrupt anything," Rod Paterson, charge head of parks and inner city maintenance for the city, said while working in the cemetery Monday.
"It just means a fair bit of work and time."
The City of Brandon said cleanup in the cemetery could take another week.
"The most urgent areas were cleared up on Sunday but it will take a few weeks to completely deal with the cleanup," a city’s press release stated.
Environment Canada reported more than 30 mm of rain fell in some areas of the city in just 15 minutes on Saturday, with wind speeds up to 80 km/h, leaving some homes and businesses without power for several hours. The damage to trees was caused by a "straight line wind," according to Environment Canada.
The City of Brandon reminds residents with tree debris resulting from recent storms that trees on city property will be dealt with by city staff.
Trees on private property should be cleared by individual residents and hauled to the Eastview Landfill. The city’s sanitation department will not be picking up tree debris piled in back lanes or curbs.
» Twitter: @LindseyEnns
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 8, 2014