A sudden storm darkened homes, swamped cars and businesses and snapped tree branches in Parksville Monday evening. Residents saw an ominous, towering, columnar cloud that lashed the city with wind and heavy rain.
The rain was brief but heavy: A City of Parksville weather station recorded 33 millimetres falling in just 18 minutes - enough to set some smaller vehicles afloat on Highway 19A in the downtown core. Many reportedly said it was the worst storm in memory, yet it was over almost as suddenly as it appeared.
"I left here for an hour and it ended before when I got back - I was quite surprised," said Larry Adams, owner of Big Bend RV Park and Campground, overlooking the Englishman River.
His staff spent Tuesday mopping up branches knocked down in the heavy winds.
Rick Lawrence was caught in the storm at about 8:30 p.m., while driving from Qualicum Beach to his Parksville home.
He saw police redirecting traffic around the Corfield Street intersection.
"It was pretty deep, up to the bottoms of the doors in some cars," Lawrence said.
"It was pouring rain, white with rain."
The storm tracked southwest to northeast, form the Springwood-Erminskin area through the downtown core then the Pioneer Crescent area.
The City of Parksville described the storm as "well beyond" the 100-year storm level.
B.C. Hydro said about 4,000 customers' power was affected by the storm.
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