Storm drains, parking lots, streets overwhelmed by the volume of water in Nanaimo
Shortly after seven last night, a storm swept through Nanaimo.
Heavy rain and hail overwhelmed areas.
But lightning came out of nowhere, and struck without warning.
This is the parking lot at Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Centre Thursday evening, resembling a lake.
The storm came on suddenly, the volume of water overwhelming storm drains.
At the Living Forest Campground, Rob Littlejohn says a lightning strike was their only warning of a storm.
“I was just over there at the office,fifty yards away and all of a sudden we just heard a massive boom.”
Its target; a maple tree, now a stump, right in the middle of the property.
“This strike came out of nowhere, we had no rain. We hadn’t heard any thunder or anything.
The sky was partially cloudy, partially clear.”
Camper Rob Ostwald had just finished his run when the lightning struck.
“You could see the tree.
You could see that jaggedness where the lightning blew up the tree.
It scared the, it scared the bejesus out of all of us.”
At the same time, another lightning strike, hitting this tree on Blueback Road, near Marge Niblett’s condo.
“I’ve never seen a flash of light so close and so intense.
It was just that brilliant, brilliant white.”
She watched from inside as the area lit up.
“The crack of it was so loud that actually you felt pain, you know from the crack, in my ear and down my side here.
It hurt instantly.
And it hurt all night.”
The electricity ran down the tree, and into the ground, where it tore open a natural gas line.
The gas then saturated the ground, and leached back into the buildings, leading to an evacuation of all homes in the area.
Nanaimo Deputy Fire Chief Martin Drakeley says it’s the first he’s ever heard of lightning fracturing an underground line.
“25 years I’ve never heard of that type of thing.
I’ve talked to the Fortis technicians, and they said they’ve never heard of it either.”
With enough rain to cause drains to erupt, this storm will be one to remember for residents of Nanaimo for years.