The Torquay-area farm of Jason Stepp, his family and crew have been busy cleaning up the destruction of powerful winds late Wednesday-early Thursday, after a trailer home of a farm hand was rolled and smashed at the height of the storm.
The winds were produced by an Alberta Clipper winter storm that roared across the province, causing downed trees and power lines, and damaging all sorts of properties in towns, cities and in the rural areas.
On the Stepp farm, located six miles south of Torquay, his farmhand had just laid down on his couch with his dog when the winds caused the trailer home to roll three full times before smashing into one of Stepp’s shops.
He said the shop was the only thing to stop the trailer, noting that insulation from the smashed-up trailer was found at a neighbour’s farm three miles away.
“It was the ugliest wind I’ve ever heard,” said Stepp, noting the farmhand’s bed was found about 600 to 800 feet away, while his own truck was pushed across the ice to some trees.
Somehow with the trailer smashed into pieces, the farmhand survived the ordeal and crawled out, and went into the shop to get out of the storm. His dog also survived the ordeal, and came up to the farm house for help.
Afterward, Stepp said he found kitchen knives stuck into the floor like they were thrown there.
The trailer home had just been fixed up, with about $50,000 spent to upgrade it as a residence for the farm worker, and he lost everything when the home was smashed up.
Stepp was able to get his farm worker into the house, and soon afterward the power came back on, after it had been going on and off throughout the storm.
In addition, among the other damages on the farm, some of Stepp’s grain bins were damaged, so the 100,000-bushel capacity he formerly had is now down to 25,000 bushels, and he’s worried whether he will have grain storage space come harvest time.
Stepp said he’s concerned whether his insurance company will be quick in paying the claims for the damage or if they’ll drag it out. He noted he suffered damages from a hail storm and tornado two and a half years ago, and he only received payment for that recently.
By his estimate, Stepp figures he’s looking at upwards of a $1 million in damages on the farm. Insurance adjustors were due to pay a visit to the farm on Saturday and have a look at the damages.
As for the big mess left by the storm, Stepp said, “We’re a hard-working crew and we’ll get it done. We’ve got a good crew here and we’ll clean it up.”