Lorna was supposed to be dropped at Sandy's cousin Jayne's house on Northway Avenue in New Sudbury. Following Notre Dame Avenue to Lasalle Boulevard would be the fastest route. It was rush hour, so we went through downtown to St. Anne Road to get to Notre Dame.
If you are not familiar with Sudbury, Ontario, it is a very spread out city. The whole municipality is larger than the state of Rhode Island, although the population is only 160,000. The old city is made up of pockets of residential areas surrounded by large rock hills and wetlands. There are only a few roads that connect these various neighborhoods.
Traffic was stopped on northbound Notre Dame. From the rise, it looked like there had been a traffic incident at the Kathleen Street intersection. We were able to turn on Leslie Street, go over the hill and connect with the eastbound Kingsway. This would be a rather long detour, but options were limited. As it turned out, this was a lucky break.
The sky looked pretty benign as we started east on The Kingsway. Eastbound was slow bumper to bumper, as one would expect of a four lane arterial road at quitting time. As we progressed, the sky got darker and darker. After less than a half mile, rain started to fall. Within the next mile, we got hit with torrential rain, hail and extremely violent wind from the north. By the time we got to Barrydowne Road, another half miles, it had eased up to just rain and calm air.
We turned north on Barrydowne Road but it looked pretty crowded. I decided to take a common shortcut to Lasalle via Westmount and Attlee Avenues. At the Barrydowne/Westmount intersection, we saw the first heavy water on the road. As we got to Attlee and started up the hill, we saw tree branches on the ground. A the top of the hill, the road was awash in water and we had to negotiate our way around numerous fallen trees all the way to Lasalle.
Seeing that Lasalle was not going to work, I turned right on Lauzon Avenue and tried to get to Grandview Boulevard, which paralleled Lasalle to the north. We got to the start of Grandview and were turned around by a police constable due to downed trees and power lines. It was obvious we were not going to get to Jayne's house so we worked our way back to Woodbine Avenue.
Woodbine Avenue took us to the north end of Barrydowne Road, which didn't look as bad. Then we went east on Lasalle to Falconbridge Road and home, where Sandy's potted plant was still on its stand as if nothing had happened.
We finally reached Jayne's cell phone. She (and thousands of others) were without power and she said the tree in their yard and others all around their house were destroyed. Later in the evening, she came by to pick up Lorna, who would be going to visit another of Sandy's cousins at their remote home on Onaping Lake tomorrow.
The final analysis was that we were hit by a microburst associated with the thunderstorm. The heavy damage was confined to a corridor that appeared to be about a half mile wide extending from northwest to southeast across New Sudbury. Large trees were splintered in the worst area but it, surprisingly, most roofs appeared intact. I heard no reports of injuries. Had we not turned back to the Kingsway due to the traffic accident, we could have been in the middle of the burst instead of on the edge. Hence the luck I spoke of earlier.
From time to time Sudbury gets hit with adverse weather events. Lets hope this does not become a habit.
Our route across town: