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Microburst descends on Huntingdon

Storm clouds blew in suddenly on Monday, bringing torrential rains, violent winds and even hail to some municipalities across the Valley. Hardest hit was Huntingdon, where Mayor André Brunette confirms a microburst downed trees and caused significant damage throughout the town. Several branches of century-old trees in Prince-Arthur Park cracked and crashed to the ground, one of them toppling the statue of the lone soldier from the Cenotaph.

The soldier standing atop the Cenotaph in Huntingdon suffered the brunt of a fallen tree branch during a microburst that hit the municipality on June 21. (PHOTO Sarah Rennie)

The storm descended on Huntingdon at around 2:30 p.m., just as Heritage Elementary School was letting out for the day. Agitated students were rushed onto buses that were then able to depart without issue. Members of the Huntingdon Fire Department and first responders were on the scene quickly to secure areas that had suffered severe damage and to direct traffic as several roads were blocked by fallen branches and debris.

Two teams spent much of Tuesday cleaning up after the storm. As of early Tuesday afternoon, there were still a few homes without electricity as teams from Hydro-Québec worked to remove branches from power lines and restore service.

Downed tree branches blocked several roads in the Town of Huntingdon following the storm on Monday. (PHOTO Christopher Pennington)

“It did not last long, but it did a lot of damage,” says Brunette, who says a priority for the town in the aftermath of the storm will be the restoration of the Monument aux braves de 1914-1918 war monument. “We are going to take care of the repairs to the soldier,” he confirms, noting they were able to recover practically all of the broken pieces. Brunette noted how important the landmark is to members of the Huntingdon community as well as those from neighbouring municipalities.

Branches caused damage to some homes and cars in Huntingdon. (PHOTO Bonnie DeCaen)

The storm also affected nearby municipalities, leaving a trail of minor damages as it moved over the Valley. Residents ventured outside soon after the storm passed as the skies cleared, in some cases with chainsaws in hand, to begin the process of cleaning up.

All of the plants at the Jardins Ellice in Ormstown were flattened by heavy winds. (PHOTO Yvonne Lewis Langlois)
A hydro pole in Ormstown snapped during the storm on June 21. (PHOTO Yvonne Lewis Langlois)

A severe thunderstorm watch had been in effect for the entire region since early Monday. Violent storms were reported elsewhere across the province. A tornado with windspeeds reaching between 180 and 200 km/h touched down in Mascouche between 4 and 4:30 p.m., killing one man and injuring at least two other people. There were reports a second tornado may have touched down south of Quebec City.

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