Freak storm leaves Red Deer in tatters

The City of Red Deer declared a local state of emergency after hurricane-force winds downed trees and power lines early

Tuesday evening.

No injuries were reported at the time. Extensive damage was reported throughout Central Alberta.Powerful gusts whipped dust into the air, blasted shingles off roofs and caused power outages around the city. Wind speeds were clocked at more than 110 km/h around 7 p.m.

An Emergency Operations Centre was set up almost immediately to co-ordinate response after the windstorm. Resident Tom, who did not want to give his last name, said he saw dust blowing from the southwest from windows in his second-floor suite on 30th Street near Black Knight Inn.

“I thought to myself this looks like Black Friday in 1987 when we had the tornado in Edmonton. I kept on watching. It was like one big dust storm and then everything started flying. Trees busted off and landed on that guy’s truck,” Tom said pointing to the fallen trees in front of his apartment building.

One massive tree was uprooted and fell across 30th Street, preventing traffic from going down the street. When the wind started to die down, some people, who were stopped by the tree, took photos of the roadblock before turning around and driving away. Tom said during the worst of the wind, drivers were still travelling down Gaetz Avenue. He could see their headlights, Mountview resident Carroll Borg had a very tall tree in her front yard split and crash onto her driveway on Spruce Drive.

“Thank goodness it didn’t hit the neighbour’s house,” Borg said. She didn’t see the tree fall and was inside her house when the winds started. “It was terrible.”

Electric Light & Power crews were assessing and addressing the outages late into the early morning. According to the city, approximately 25 to 30 per cent of customers across the city experienced power outages. As of 11:45 p.m. power was restored to five to 10 per cent of those customers. Residents are asked to exercise caution with dealing with fallen trees. If you need to report downed lines or trees, call 403-342-8132.

 

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