August 30, 2018 5:53 pm
Updated: August 30, 2018 6:00 pm

Cleanup begins after powerful summer storm hits Montreal

WATCH: Montrealers are cleaning up after a brief but powerful storm struck the province on Wednesday. As Global's Phil Carpenter reports, the storm led to massive power outages and downed trees – and it even damaged homes in Pointe-Claire.

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In spite of its size, few people heard when a huge branch from a 30-year-old ash tree in Diane Gauthier’s front yard came crashing onto her roof.

“We didn’t hear a noise,” she told Global News as city workers used a crane to remove it. “When I opened the door I saw everything in front of the door.”

READ MORE: Violent summer storm leaves thousands in the dark

It happened during a storm Wednesday afternoon that charged through Pointe-Claire and the rest of Montreal. It was so powerful that even if some residents didn’t hear the falling trees they certainly heard everything else — including the wind and the heavy rain.

“It literally was coming off roofs the way snow would come off because there was so much of it coming down,” Johanna Klove said.

“It was twirling and twisting and pouring and pounding.”

The wind ripped off tree branches, damaged homes and up to 100,000 Hydro-Québec clients lost power on the island of Montreal.

“It was quite a spectacle,” Klove said.

Heavy rain and strong winds have brought down branches and trees in the West Island.

Pascal Marchand

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According to Environment Canada the storm was part of a line of fast-moving thunderstorms that moved across the city from eastern Ontario.  The wind gusts that caused the damage sometimes exceeded more than 100 km/hour.

“[It’s] what we call a gust front,” explained Alexandre Parent, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

“That’s really the thinking here. Blowing just before the lines of thunderstorms itself and it lasted only five-10 minutes across the Montreal area.”

He was in Saint-Julien, located about hours south of Montreal, when a storm cell had developed into a tornado.

READ MORE: Environment Canada confirms tornado touched down in Saint-Julien

“It was categorized as an EF2 so winds from 180 kilometres to 220 kilometres per hour,” he explains.

One home was completely destroyed but there were no reported injuries.

Back in Pointe-Claire, Gauthier was luckier — her house barely had a scratch.  Her neighbour further up on Inglewood Avenue in the Cedar Park area wasn’t so lucky.

“Sometimes something like this can happen couple of years in a row and sometimes you can have 10 years without anything,” she said.

Residents of this neighborhood say it’s best to just accept nature for what it is.

READ MORE: Heat wave hits Quebec farmers where it hurts — right in the crops

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