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  • Writer's pictureCraig Baird

When A Storm Took A Garage

Storms are nothing new in the Vermilion area. There have been funnel clouds, massive rain storms, vicious snow storms and plenty of high winds. Sometimes, a storm sets itself a part and that is what happened in the heart of The Great Depression on July 30, 1935.

It was on that day that a storm suddenly struck the Vermilion area, described as having “cyclonic proportions”

It would also be described as “the wildest half-hour ever experienced in this district.”

The storm would take out barns and granaries, flatten crops and flood roads throughout the district. For local farmer Joe Savielle, he would be watching the storm take his large barn and scatter it into pieces, while also picking up his garage and carrying it away. It was said that he searched the area for half an hour but never found his garage.

The Ronaghan Brothers would see their storage building swept from its foundation completely.

Hail was also very severe, with hail falling in such force and high quantities that 75 per cent of the crops in the area were completely destroyed just as harvest season was about to begin.

Vermilion had plenty of rain as well, with 68 millimeters of rain in half an hour. Cellars were flooded completely, gardens were ruined and telephone lines were knocked down in the dozens. There were also campers returning from Lake Laurier and it took them 12 hours to travel 64 kilometres on the flooded and destroyed roads.

The storm continued on to the southwest, cutting a swatch of destruction about 24 kilometres in width before it faded away across the horizon.

Of course, the damage left by this quick storm would take days to clean up, and it would be some time before telephone service was once again up and running.

As for the garage of Joe Savielle, its not known if he ever did find it.

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Listen to his podcasts Canadian History Ehx, Canada’s Great War, From John to Justin & Pucks and Cups on all podcast platforms.

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