Storm Damage on Catchacoma Lake

The Logan Tree Experts crew has been busy removing fallen trees from cottages, decks and boathouses on Catchacoma Lake after the storm that hit last Friday. Storm damage removal is hairy business and requires the skills of trained arborists to safely remove the twisted and uprooted trees safely.

Read the article below written in the Peterborough Examiner.


Wall of Water Blasts Cottage Country – Peterborough Examiner, July 24, 2013

Catchacoma Lake cottager Eileen Hill now has an unobstructed view of the water after a short but fierce Friday afternoon storm wreaked havoc on her island and

downed hundreds of trees.

“We couldn’t see. The storm came down the lake like it was sucking all the water out. It was just a wall of water,” said Hill, who has a cottage on McKee Island, about 40 minutes north of Peterborough in Trent Lakes Township.

“Down at the point of the island they lost 30 trees. We have a view of the lake now that we didn’t have before.”

Friday’s storm that stretched from Windsor to the Ottawa Valley and into Southern Quebec knocked out power to just under 200,000 Hydro One customers at its peak.

By Tuesday afternoon, Hydro One crews descended on the cottage country north of Buckhorn and the Apsley area with full force where all told about 5,000 people remained without power.

Power remained out Tuesday morning north of Bancroft on Catchocoma and Mississauga lakes as well as Chandos Lake and Jack Lake in the Apsley area.

Some customers will have to wait until Thursday before power will be restored, Hydro One spokeswoman Tiziana Baccega Rosa said.

“Specialized equipment is required to get into some of these remote areas. They are using every resource possible to make this happen as quickly but as safely as possible,” she said. “We always want to give people the worst case scenario because we want them to be able to make alternative arrangements.”

Catchacoma Marina was abuzz with activity Tuesday as dozens of Hydro One workers used it as a launching ground for some of the area’s more remote locations. Thirty Hydro One trucks were parked at the marina by 2 p.m. and the company also had its helicopter and barges deployed. Some employees came from as far away as Windsor and Perth.

“We have a seven-acre property and there are probably 40 or 50 trees down here. It was a substantial storm,” said marina manager Dwayne Ferguson, who took The Examiner on a boat tour of damaged cottages and properties.

“There are a few substantially damaged properties but the bigger damage for everybody is the huge amount of trees that are just down. In an area of forests behind some of these cottages there are football fields now.”

For arborist Matt Logan of Logan Tree Experts that means a lot of work in upcoming weeks. He and his crew have been removing trees on McKee Island since Saturday. There’s so much business he’s only responding to calls where fallen trees pose an immediate danger to property.

“If it’s not on a building, or it’s not about to fall on the building, then we can’t do it. What we’re most interested in now is making sure it’s safe for the cottagers,” he said. “There is massive property damage. We’re working on a property right now where we’ll be taking a good 30% of their trees down.”

While some cottagers suspected a tornado had touched down on Catchacoma Lake, Environment Canada has found no evidence of one. Instead, the sites it has investigated elsewhere in the province point to what’s called “straight-line wind damage,” meteorologist Geoff Coulson explained.

“Every sight the investigators looked at … was consistent with what we call straight-line wind damage. These wind gusts would have been on the order of about 100 to 140 km/h,” he said. “When they investigated the damage sites, in most cases, the trees were blown down in one direction, almost in a sort of fan shape. That tends to be what happens when there is a burst of winds as opposed to a tornado.”

Cottager Ted Spence, who had 17 trees knocked down on his McKee Island property including two that fell on the roof of his cottage, said he watched trees fall like dominos during the storm.

“We watched the trees go down one by one, a curtain of trees going down,” he said.

Mark Stoakes, owner of Anstruther Marina near Apsley, said his business was also busy with Hydro One workers Tuesday afternoon. The surrounding community was still cleaning up and assessing damages, he said.

“There is tree damage, there are cars written off. We had an entire boat house with about 50 boats in it torn to shreds,” he said.

Stoakes also described the storm as a wall of water.

“It was the strangest thing. The water was just lifting out of the lake and it was a wall of water moving sideways. I haven’t ever seen anything quite like that,” he said.

Even in the midst of the damage and mess, cottagers have maintained their sense of humour. In the once forested point of McKee Island that now gives Hill her clear view of the water, someone has renamed it “Clear Point,” painting the name on a downed tree.

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