Torrential rain and hail pummeled Saskatoon during the supper hour on Monday, causing localized flooding, lifted manhole covers, power outages and damage across the city.
The magnitude of the violent storm that hit areas of the city was described as one only seen every quarter of a century.
MORE STORM COVERAGE: Saskatoon weather outlook: storm with flooding, hail and possible tornado moves out
In advance of the weather system, the city switched generators at the Water Treatment Plant to storm mode.
“Overall, I think the city was well prepared,” Angela Gardiner, the city’s acting general manager for the transportation and utilities department, said.
“We did respond in a very organized and structured way, so we’re very pleased with how we handle that and made it through.”
Still, the storm system showed no mercy to parts of Saskatoon as sheets of rain fell the hardest both in the west and the south.
According to accumulation amounts taken at seven of the city’s rain gauges, 45 millimetres – or 1.8 inches – of rain drenched Stonebridge in an hour, with its peak intensity hitting at 6:30 p.m. CT.
“Essentially, this translates into a 25 year storm in that portion of the city,” Gardiner said.
WATCH BELOW: Video of the aftermath of the severe thunderstorm than hit Saskatoon on Monday evening
Vehicles were stranded by flash flooding at Confederation Drive and Laurier Drive. It took hours for water to ease and traffic to return to normal.
Approximately 20 manhole covers erupted from streets and other areas looked as though it had just snowed due to hail.
“Overall, about 4,600 homes were impacted by power outages throughout the storm and into the evening,” Gardiner added.
Police hit the soggy streets to aid with traffic tie-ups.
According to Wayne Rodger with the Saskatoon Fire Department, fire crews responded to 25 calls in three hours.
“Four of those incidents directly involved tree and/or energized power lines that initiated some form of fire that we attended to.”
All the more reason not to wade in the water, warned fire officials, but residents couldn’t resist having a little fun.
What’s no laughing matter for many in the city is how problematic flooding is during a storm.
New neighbourhoods are designed to be more robust and to handle heavy downpours; the same can’t be said for older areas.
“When you get into older neighbourhoods, you have a considerably lower standard than that,” Galen Heinrichs, the city’s water and sewer engineering manager, said.
According to Heinrichs, there are 12 to 15 low-lying intersections in the city where there is often no infrastructure solution to surface flooding.
“With the nature of the situation as it is, the fact that it’s low-lying already and built with the design standards that it has – there’s very little that we can do,” Heinrichs added.
There have been no reports of sewage back-up but the city did admit it had a few claims of seepage.
“For your home we actually do have flood coverage available, it’s just new this year and you should be talking to your broker to ensure that you have it,” said Marie Schultz with Saskatchewan Government Insurance.
Any auto claims or property damage should also be reported to your insurance provider as soon as possible.