Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cold front thunderstorm

Thinking we'd take a walk in the cooler part of the day we set out across our park towards the Minto Bridges this evening to be confronted by a menacing black sky to the northwest, a line of turbulent thunder clouds approaching. Sure enough, as we reached the bridges the rain and wind began, and we had to run for cover under the covered walkway beside the Foreign Affairs ministry. From there we could watch the storm lashing the Rideau River so fiercely that the water looked to be rapidly moving upstream; in fact the surface water was doing just that with waves breaking and floating objects moving some distance upriver in the squalls. On the far side of the bank the big trees did a wild dance in the wind.

Maples are the best at withstanding thunderstorms, bending in the gusts but not losing many branches. Willows on the other hand are fragile. Never stand under a willow tree in a thunderstorm. When we returned home down St. Patrick Street after another pause for shelter in a coffee shop on Beechwood Avenue, we saw the havoc wreaked by the storm in the park where we'd started our walk. Chris walked round the fallen trees to make sure nobody was trapped underneath, and I went to fetch my camera so that I could take some pictures before darkness fell:

I then checked the weather reports and radar pictures. It seems that the cold front with severe storms this evening stretched from Kingston to Quebec, crossing the United States border about an hour later.

Another casualty of the Ottawa storm was the stage for the Blues Festival at Lebreton Flats, near the Ottawa River west of Parliament Hill. The Ottawa Citizen has already published its report with a nice misprint that I hope they don't correct:
...Citizen reporter Chris Cobb was on scene and said the storm came in the form of dark clouds and violent wins from the Ottawa River, blew into the MBNA stage and it collapsed immediately. The band Cheap Trick ran from the stage seconds before the stage collapsed and their road crews emerged minutes later to rescue instruments...
(my emphasis)

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