Updated: Businesses still cleaning up after storm

Updated: Businesses still cleaning up after storm

Saturday afternoon's torrential lightning and hail storm left its mark on multiple locations throughout the city.

Saturday afternoon’s torrential lightning, rain and hail storm left its mark on multiple locations throughout the city.

Traffic flow along both Mackenzie Avenue and Oliver Street was a mess due to flooding caused by the intense hail and rain. Downed power lines also created brief power outages in some parts of the city.

Here, on Twelfth Avenue North, a massive ice buildup at the bottom of the hill blocked traffic.

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On Monday morning, several businesses were still cleaning up.

At Tasco on Mackenzie Avenue North a sign indicated “Flood sale 20 per cent off.”

Owner Rick Weil said the alley behind was a lake.

“The water was up to my thighs, “ Weil said Monday, adding there were four inches of water flooded into the store.

Next door Cariboo Steel and Machining Ltd. was also flooded.

“It bent the steel door at the back on the alley side of our building,” said owner Jason Rowley.

The water buildup in the alley measured to his shorts, but once he went outside and dug the “crap” clogging the manhole, the water started swirling like it was going down the toilet and was gone in a couple of minutes.

Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist confirmed the amount of rain in Williams Lake and the surrounding area during the last three months has been higher than normal.

According to the weather station at the airport, the norm for April is 22 millimetres of rain — April 2013 37 mm fell. The norm for May is 39 mm — 89 mm fell in 2013. In June the norm is 56 mm and by June 24, 80 mm of rain fell.

Lundquist did not have measurements for Saturday’s rain fall, but said Environment Canada received a call from a severe weather watcher who measured 15 mm of rain in 15 minutes at Chimney Lake.

“That is an incredible high rain rate which would totally explain what you guys saw in your area on Saturday,” Lundquist said. It is the rain rates that really make a difference, he added. If 15 mm fell overnight in 24 hours, the infrastructure and watersheds could handle that amount.

“It’s really about how fast it came. We were looking at Sparwood where 15 mm came in an hour and we thought that was incredible,” Lundquist said.

On Saturday the amount of rain that fell varied and not all areas received hail. At the south end of Williams Lake on Kozuki Road where Weil lives he did not get any hail, he said.

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