It was a quiet, unsuspecting night for Grenfell’s nearly 1,100 residents on Friday. That was until the skies darkened, and a severe storm slammed into the community.
There was no prior warning for many, according to residents CTV News spoke with Monday, as clean-up continued in the town just off Highway 1.
What started off as a forgettable Friday night turned into something many described as the wildest night of weather the community has ever experienced.
“It just seemed like a regular storm. It didn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary … it didn’t do like lightning normally does. It was just light,” resident Corrine Steininger recalled.
“That was a bit of a clue that this was going to be a little bit different. Then, the wind started to shriek.”
It wasn’t until the following morning that many residents realized how severe the storm was.
It wasn’t a regular summer thunderstorm, there was simply too much damage, damage that only seemed possible from a tornado touchdown or a severe straight-line wind.
The constant lightning, that only included a few cracks of thunder, was much of how the community recollected the storm. Mayor Rob Wolfe said he felt like it was a scene out of the movie Twister.
He had just dropped off his kids at the Twilight Drive In Theatre in the neighbouring community of Wolseley. After returning to a friends shop, the storm hit, and he mentioned he may have to hide the knives and sharp objects in the shop.
All joking aside, no one was hurt according to Wolfe, but it was a terrifying experience.
“Frightening, devastating for the community,” he said.
“We’ll regroup as a community and chip in and volunteer. It is what it is. Small town Saskatchewan, right? Everybody’s chipping in to help everybody. Contractors were chipping in. Local restaurants, chipped in to supply food and refreshments (it was) an amazing effort, it really was.”
One of those restaurants supplying food?
Steininger’s The Golf Spot Grill N Chill.
They made all the food in the restaurant, supplying it to those putting in the time and effort to clean up the community.
Through tears, Steininger said this means so much to the community.
“They really came together. It was really beautiful to see,” she said.
Council is expected to apply for the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program.
During the storm, the roof of Grenfell’s rink was torn off and thrown into the neighbouring Regional Campground. Wolfe said he hopes to have everything back up and running for puck drop in September.
The agriculture industry also took a hit locally, with parts of Paterson Grain taken off during the storm, along with a bin of the local Viterra Terminal losing its top.
It’s not yet known how much damage the community took during the storm, or what the total financial cost will look like in the long term.