Power restored to all but 200 homes

City cleanup continues and landfill to remain open next two Sundays for green branch dropoff

After an around-the-clock effort by city crews, only 200 Red Deer homes remained without power by Friday.

The city was optimistic the remaining homes and businesses will have power back in a day or two.

Power was restored to Vanier Woods, Glendale and Normandeau by city crews working through Thursday night. Power has also been restored to about half of the businesses that went black in Riverside Industrial Park.

Karen Mann, director of the city’s emergency operations centre, said 15 power lines and 40 power poles were downed by Tuesday’s storm. At one point, 12,000 Red Deer homes were without electricity.

“Typically, a workload of this size would take up to three weeks to repair,” said Mann. “With the dedicated crews, 24-hour operations and additional help we were able to get all but the approximately 200 households back within three days.”

The city believes this is the biggest power blackout since 1986.

Mayor Tara Veer praised the efforts of city staff. In the storm’s aftermath, a third of the city was without power and in only three days almost all lights are back on.

Full cleanup is expected to take up to five weeks, with follow-up work likely in the fall.

City of Edmonton has also lent a hand, sending two bucket trucks with chippers and five staff, including an arborist — aid that was greatly appreciated. They will be helping clear trails and inspecting trees to ensure all near the trails are sound.

“Without those additional resources we wouldn’t have been able to complete this work in a timely way,” said city manager.

Trails remain closed but the city is optimistic they will be reopened soon.

The all-out effort by cleanup crews means several big weekend events are cleared to go: Saturday’s Foam Fest at Heritage Ranch, and Kids of Steel on Saturday and Woody’s Triathlon on Sunday, both starting at Michener Centre.

The city offered some advice for local residents in neighbourhoods with overhead power lines that were hit by the storm. They are asked to visibly inspect the meter base, and power service mast located on the side of your home that connects to the overhead power line.

“If you see damage, do not touch them. Contact an electrician immediately,” said Mann. “Electric Light and Power staff will not be able to reconnect power to these damaged, customer-owned power service masts until they are repaired.”

Those still without power, know of any blocked roadways, or have a vehicle that has a tree or significant debris on it, call the city at 403-342-8111.

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