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Twin Lakes Beach digs out... again

Cottage community hit twice in two years

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/7/2012 (2269 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

TWIN LAKES BEACH -- Like the name of this beach, disasters have come in twos.

Two years, two disasters and two similar outcomes: damaged cottages and splintered and shattered trees.

Sunday night's windstorm was nothing less than heartbreaking for residents still cleaning up more than a year after Lake Manitoba -- filled to overflowing by the Portage Diversion in 2011 -- slammed many cottages here and elsewhere on the lake.

"I just feel there's a black cloud over our heads that started last year on May 31," said June Papuga, a cottager for 16 years, as she surveyed her now roofless cedar cottage on Monday. The roof, still relatively intact, was lying a few metres away, upside down in her backyard.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/7/2012 (2269 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

TWIN LAKES BEACH — Like the name of this beach, disasters have come in twos.

Two years, two disasters and two similar outcomes: damaged cottages and splintered and shattered trees.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 
James Deighton stands on the roof of his cottage. Only 24 hours earlier, it had been where it belonged-- on top of his cottage  in the background.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS James Deighton stands on the roof of his cottage. Only 24 hours earlier, it had been where it belonged-- on top of his cottage in the background.

Sunday night's windstorm was nothing less than heartbreaking for residents still cleaning up more than a year after Lake Manitoba — filled to overflowing by the Portage Diversion in 2011 — slammed many cottages here and elsewhere on the lake.

"I just feel there's a black cloud over our heads that started last year on May 31," said June Papuga, a cottager for 16 years, as she surveyed her now roofless cedar cottage on Monday. The roof, still relatively intact, was lying a few metres away, upside down in her backyard.

"I can't believe it — the whole roof. I thought maybe a shingle or two, but not the whole roof... I don't think it is even salvageable."

With family members, Papuga was busy removing precious family memories and contents before any other bad weather could destroy what's left.

But Papuga isn't the only one looking at rebuilding or major renovations. Given the nature of this windstorm, which Environment Canada pegged at about 118 km/h, just about every driveway in this cottage community held a story.

In the wake of last year's damage, Angela Krawchuk and her husband Daniel built a sun porch on the front of their cottage. On Sunday night, the winds ripped it away, tossing the roof onto their neighbour's roof before it bounced into the backyard.

"It could have been worse — nobody was injured," Krawchuk said.

Morley Lytle said he and his wife, Darlene, huddled in the back bedroom for protection.

"We heard a big bang as the roof landed on our roof," Lytle said.

"It took our chimney out," he added, pointing to an open round hole to the sky in the roof.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
 Briant Fransoo surveys his boathouse that was ripped from its foundation and thrown against his cottage at Twin Lakes Beach.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Briant Fransoo surveys his boathouse that was ripped from its foundation and thrown against his cottage at Twin Lakes Beach.

Lytle said his front windows aren't smashed because they were protected by wood shutters he put up minutes before the storm as they were planning to return to Winnipeg.

"My aunt taught me to put the shutters up whenever you leave," he said. "It was good advice."

People huddled in bathrooms, bedrooms, anywhere they felt safe as windows facing the lake smashed and shattered, throwing shards of glass through the rooms.

In one cottage lot, a toilet sits alone standing guard, while its former outhouse building sat on its side a few metres away.

And it wasn't just wind and rain. Several cottages had damaged siding due to hailstones.

Knowing his daughter and her friends were at the cottage, Briant Fransoo raced back and arrived about halfway through the storm.

"The roof of the boathouse was already on the roof of our cottage," Fransoo said.

"I never thought this would happen and the worst part was we weren't there. Just about every window in the place is broken.

"After last year, the boathouse was still standing. Then all of a sudden this happens. It kicks us when we're down."

Grant Gaudes, a third-generation cottager, said he has never seen a windstorm as vicious as the one Sunday night.

"We thought the windows would blow out," he said.

"It lifted our barbecue with a full propane tank and left it hanging over the side of the deck.

"I've seen windstorms, but never ones that brought down trees like this."

WAYNE GLOWACKI / winnipeg free press
Just over a year ago, the same area was devastated by flooding from Lake Manitoba due to high winds.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / winnipeg free press Just over a year ago, the same area was devastated by flooding from Lake Manitoba due to high winds.

Gaudes said it is also tough after already having to weather last year's disaster.

"We were just starting to clean up and get back to normal beach living and then this. It's another two steps backwards."

Earl Zotter, reeve of the RM of St. Laurent, said it is still adding up the damage costs. He said the RM has already called the province for disaster assistance for the latest storm, even though it is still working to complete last year's compensation.

"Twin Lakes Beach and St. Laurent got it the worst," Zotter said. "It's a disaster.

"One house was completely demolished. Other houses lost their roof. Windows imploded with the wind. There are trees over power lines and roads are blocked. There were 1,200-pound bales pushed across a field and a ditch onto the road."

Zotter said he's glad there was nobody injured or killed in the storm.

"Last year we dodged a bullet with the water when we got everybody out," he said.

"We dodged another bullet (Sunday) night."

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Storm by the numbers

It's easy to follow Sunday's storm from the weather statistics and damage left behind as it tracked southeast across Manitoba.

 

Amaranth: 75 mm of rain and 90 km/h winds.

St. Laurent: 50 mm of rain in 30 minutes. Radar showed winds of 150 km/h. Surface readings showed 103 km/h.

Oak Point: 113 km/h wind gusts.

Twin Lakes Beach: Straight-line winds estimated at 118 km/h caused extensive damage. Roofs ripped off cabins, windows smashed, roof of a boathouse landed on a cottage.

Marquette, Poplar River: CP train derailed. 12 cars out of 59 lifted off the tracks. The track was reopened Monday afternoon.

Victoria Beach: 89 km/h wind gusts.

Headingley: 100 km/h winds.

Pratt: Loonie-sized hail.

West St. Paul: Damage to the roof of one house.

Winnipeg: Loonie-sized hail in Charleswood, strong winds in North Kildonan caused roof damage and downed trees. A child was reportedly lifted more than half a metre off the ground. Wind gusts 89 km/h at Richardson International Airport.

East of Lac du Bonnet: Unconfirmed tornado reported near Highway 317.

La Salle: Loonie-sized hail.

St. Adolphe: Unconfirmed funnel cloud reported.

Zhoda: Golf ball-sized hail, winds knocked down poplar trees, 50 mm of rain.

Pinawa: Strong winds uprooted nine- to 12-metre trees, ripped roofs and shingles off buildings.

Piney: Toonie-sized hail reported east of town.

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason
Reporter

Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.

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