Regina man lends a hand as snowstorm leaves trail of damage in its wake

Click to play video: 'Regina man lends a hand as snowstorm leaves trail of damage in its wake' Regina man lends a hand as snowstorm leaves trail of damage in its wake
WATCH: Residents woke up Thursday morning anxious to survey the damage after a winter storm blew through Regina, leaving residents to pick up the pieces. – Jan 14, 2021

Regina residents woke up Thursday morning anxious to survey the damage as severe winds and a mix of freezing rain and snowfall left a trail of damage in their wake.

While most people weathered the storm safe at home, Cory Graf was in the thick of it as he lent a helping hand to stranded drivers.

Read more: Blizzard leaves icy mess across Saskatchewan highways, power outages in communities

“One guy was sitting in his car for over an hour by himself completely snowed in, there was another individual who was stuck for over and hour and another individual who was actually trying to get himself out,” Graf said.

Graf says he spent hours driving people home and pulling vehicles out of snow drifts.

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“Not everyone is fortunate to have a four-by-four truck, or an SUV — most of these vehicles getting stuck were front-wheel drive. So I felt that I should contribute to our community by helping people out,” Graf said.

He is part of a Facebook group called 306 Recovery Group, made up of people who are willing to lend a helping hand, whether someone needs a tow, boost or tools to change a flat tire.

“I actually had some friends in Argyle Park and I was told about 30 vehicles were stuck there and I had a buddy out there from about 2 a.m. until 9 a.m. just helping people out there,” Graf said.

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“It’s something we are passionate about and we just want to give something back to the community, because not everyone can afford a tow truck.”

Read more: Saskatchewan cities prepare for extreme wind, freezing rain and icy roads

The next morning, residents across the city woke to a trail of damage, including Harbour Landing homeowner Mary Deren.

“It was probably the worst wind I’ve ever heard in Regina, for sure,” Deren said.

“We lost a lot of shingles but we knew we lost a lot of shingles because we could hear them all evening and we knew the trailer hit the truck.”

January saw a new record, with peak wind gusts of 126 kilometers per hour. According to SaskPower, the intense winds led to more than 780 power outages across the province, with 54,000 calls related to the storm.

In Regina, the city says it responded to around 75 calls for tree damage. Dozens of homes and apartment buildings were also damaged and drivers were still digging themselves out the next day.

Read more: Wind gusts reached 137 km/h in province on Wednesday thanks to Alberta Clipper low-pressure system

“(My wife and I) stayed (overnight in the vehicle) until 5, 5:30 a.m., when a police officer came and he called a taxi. The taxi driver drove us home and my car is still stuck there,” Vijo Varghese said.

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Downtown, the city closed 11th Avenue until further notice after heavy damage to the pedestrian overpass.

While the freezing rain and snowfall has let up, the wind is expected to continue into the evening.

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