As vast areas across Canada braced themselves over the weekend to feel the impact of the nervously-awaited Hurricane Dorian, there was one small farm in Quebec who had already experienced a life-changing storm. On Wednesday afternoon, over the course of just seven short minutes, a ferocious storm hit Quebec’s Beauce region, destroying approximately 20,000 maple trees in the process.
According to a report from The Weather Network, Richard Fleury was spending a quiet afternoon in his Quebec home when he felt a storm brewing outside. While the rain was heavy and the wind felt strong, Fleury had noticed nothing exceptional about the storm, particularly as it had only lasted for around 7 minutes.
However, when Fleury later went out to his small farm, he realized the true extent of the destruction that the storm had caused. More than 4,500 of his family farm’s maple trees had been completely uprooted and destroyed by the wind, seriously affecting their livelihood.
"It was total desolation," Fleury told The Weather Network, “We didn't think it would be as bad as this."
Fleury shared multiple photos of his farm’s destruction on Facebook, explaining in one post how the storm had literally just ripped directly through his family’s farm. The images showed the extent of the damage, with thousands of trees lying uprooted on the ground.
In another post on his Facebook page, Fleury shared photos that a friend had taken from a small aircraft, that showed the damage to the property from above. While thousands of healthy trees are surrounding the farm, a clear damaged patch can be seen, where hundreds of trees lie destroyed on the earth.
Fleury’s family farm has been present in central Quebec for years, after his great-grandparents were the first to plant and tend to the farm’s maple trees. Five generations later, Fleury explains that replacing decades worth of maple trees is not easy.
To get the basics properly up and running again, it is expected to take the farm two years, but to grow back the lost trees, it will take decades.
"It's a loss of revenue for 60, 70, 100 years. It will take two to three generations before it goes back to what it was," said Fleury.
The damage from the storm was so particularly shocking, as nobody was even expecting it to come at all. In fact, Environment Canada hadn’t even seen it on their radars. It wasn’t until they started to see posts on social media about the damage that they realized it had happened.
Meteorologist for Environment Canada, Simon Legault, told CBC News, “On Friday, we saw a couple of high-resolution satellite images and it showed the track of the tornado."
Legault explained that while very few homes were damaged, most of the impact concentrated on the trees in the area.
Sadly, there were several maple farms severely affected by Wednesday’s storm in Quebec, with estimated damage expected to be anywhere between 15,000 and 20,000 total destroyed trees.
"We can replace houses, we can replace buildings, but trees can't be replaced that quickly," Fleury explained.
*Disclaimer: Cover photo used for illustrative purposes only.