What the hail? Greens and vehicles attacked
Mother Nature was the one taking shots at a rural golf course — and she left her mark on both the greens and parked vehicles.
Hail the size of golf balls rained down on the Bel Acres Golf and Country Club in the RM of Rosser northwest of Winnipeg on Thursday, damaging both the course, golf carts, and vehicles.
Steve Wood, the course’s golf pro, said the course has been closed since Thursday, but is expected to reopen today — albeit with some damage still to be fixed.
“We’re in clean-up mode right now,” Wood said on Friday.
“If you are a golfer, imagine a green and then imagine the damage from 39,000 golf balls landing on the green. That’s what happened because it was golf ball sized hail.
“Thankfully no one was injured because we were able to go out and bring everyone in before the hail started.”
Terry Kulchycki was one of more than 100 golfers at the course for a tournament at the time. His two-year old red Toyota Corolla now has numerous dimples on the hood, roof, and trunk lid.
“It’s the fifth car I’ve had get hail damage,” Kulchycki said.
“We were only on the second hole when the rain started and the course marshall came to get us. We figured we would be out again after the rain so we left our balls out there. Then the hail started.
“The joke was we’d never be able to find the balls with all the golf-ball sized hail.”
Brian Smiley, a spokesman for Manitoba Public Insurance, said Bel Acres wasn’t the only place where vehicles suffered damage in southern Manitoba.
Smiley said that by mid-afternoon on Friday, Autopac had already received more than 1,200 claims for hail damage.
Smiley said the majority were coming in from Shilo and Melita, but others were coming from just outside Winnipeg.
“It was a storm with very large hail,” he said.
“This was our first one this season. We are anticipating well over $2,000 to $2,500 to fix per vehicle.”
Smiley said MPI officials are still reviewing whether they will be opening special hail centres to deal with the number of damaged vehicles.
Natalie Hasell, Environment Canada’s warning preparedness meteorologist, said that on Thursday morning forecasters believed the storm would only effect the extreme southwest end of the province and North Dakota, but then something changed just after 9 a.m.
“The atmosphere was more dynamic than the models suggested,” Hasell said.
“It didn’t take long for these storms to develop and they were very fast to develop.”
Hasell said they were also moving fast and within hours stretched across large section of southern Manitoba, leaving hail and a deluge of rain in their wake.
She said Holland received the most rain — 33 millimetres — followed by Brandon with 28.2 mm, Selkirk with 27.8 mm, and Virden with 25.2 mm.
Hasell said hail struck in Melita, Souris, Shilo, St. Laurent, and northwest of Winnipeg.
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