July 29, 2014 6:47 pm

Severe Saskatchewan storm still impacting farmers, communities

Watch above: two weeks after storms pummeled the Prairies, farmers continue with clean up

RUTHILDA, Sask. – Residents south of Ruthilda, Sask. say they’ve never seen anything like it.

“There’s fields of ours that have never seen any hail and they’re the ones that were 100 per cent wiped out,” said Jeff Simpson, an area farmer.

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“We’ve had wind damage in the past but not powerful enough to literally level a crop to the ground, move large objects and then the extensive damage, usually you’ll hear about a neighbour and it’s a small contained amount of damage and this is very wide spread.”

Leaving a path of destruction, a severe Saskatchewan storm ripped through the area on July 17. The system packed such a punch, Simpson’s bin now sits more than a mile from his yard.

“The wind was unbelievable, you could barely stand in it and somehow it got the bin rolling, crossed two roads, went through the edge of a slough and here it is,” explained Simpson.

Crops once four feet tall, are now levelled to no more than 6 to 8 inches.

“There’s several producers that have nothing to combine this year.”

The wreckage is hard to comprehend both on the ground and from the air.  In one area farmyard, a dozen bins were tossed in all directions. At the time of the storm, all of them were anchored in the ground.

In another yard, a landmark barn built in 1925 is now just scraps of wood.

Sask-Storm-Cleanup-Ruthilda

“My family has been pretty devastated by it,” said Amber Roth, whose great-great-grandfather built the barn.

Now, Amber and her husband Ryan have pledged to rebuild the barn to its original form.

“It’s not just us that lost it, it’s the whole community,” said Roth.

SGI officials said in an effort to process the claims as quickly as possible, adjusters and appraisers have been working extended hours and weekends. Auto and property claims have increased since the storm but officials say it’s far too soon to put a dollar amount to the damage.

Earlier this week, an insurance adjuster visited the Roth family farm but figures have not been provided to the couple yet.

“We’re in clean up mode more so than the numbers right now,” said Ryan Roth.

“I have not added up the buildings and the damage to equipment and different things, we’ll sit with the adjuster at some point here.  The crop is easy $350,000 to $400,000, that’s just at my farm, so we’re talking millions and millions of dollars,” said Simpson.

On the day of the storm, Environment Canada did issue a tornado watch for the area with unconfirmed reports of a touchdown in the Unity area.

“To me, there’s just something different about what was zipping around in that yard, it would leave one thing and move another,” said Simpson.

Although he admits things could have been a lot worse, the devastation to the area is a hard pill to swallow.

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