Crews ready for storm: officials

Key staff members were ready to respond to whatever severe weather could have blown into Red Deer last week after a large storm brought tennis ball sized hail and at least three tornados to other parts of Central Alberta.

Mike Burlein and Monica Kaban are pictured at their ranch near Innisfail with what remains of their horse arena behind them after Thursday’s tornado. They also lost a shop and their house sustained some damage. Burlein says that despite their misfortune they have received a great deal of generosity from neighbours and local businesses who have helped to clear debris

Mike Burlein and Monica Kaban are pictured at their ranch near Innisfail with what remains of their horse arena behind them after Thursday’s tornado. They also lost a shop and their house sustained some damage. Burlein says that despite their misfortune they have received a great deal of generosity from neighbours and local businesses who have helped to clear debris

Key staff members were ready to respond to whatever severe weather could have blown into Red Deer last week after a large storm brought tennis ball sized hail and at least three tornados to other parts of Central Alberta.

A number of personnel with Red Deer Emergency Services, Electric Light and Power, Public Works and the RCMP gathered Thursday night when Environment Canada issued a tornado warning for the city and surrounding area.

Such a response is commonplace when impending weather may cause damage or bring harm, said Karen Mann, emergency management co-ordinator with the city.

“We want to be proactive,” she said. “So if something did happen we’re not just reacting and trying to find people on the fly. They’re already there.”

Those who gathered monitored the storm that brought heavy rain and strong winds while discussing how to initiate the city’s Emergency Plan should something happen.

Environment Canada ended the warning shortly after the group met and the members did not have to respond to any incidents.

Mann said Thursday’s storm highlighted how important it is for residents to be well informed on how to protect themselves from tornados and other threatening weather.

Information and an emergency checklist can be found at www.reddeer.ca.

Dan Kulak, Environment Canada meteorologist, confirmed Friday that tornados touched down near Bergen, Olds and Innisfail.

There were no reports of injuries to humans or animals, but trees and some structures were damaged.

Monica Kaban and her husband Mike Burlein lost their new workshop and three-quarters of their large riding facility, Rolling Hills Arena, in the storm.

Their home suffered only minimal shingle damage despite being only a few metres from the workshop.

The Innisfail-area couple is waiting for a damage estimate before deciding if they’ll rebuild the arena.

They have insurance and an adjuster spent most of Monday afternoon assessing the damage. An estimate was not yet available.

Kaban said they used to board horses, host riding events, clinics and 4-H events in the arena up to a year ago.

They started scaling back as they would like to retire.

An estimate of how much total damage the storm caused was not available on Monday.

ptrotter@bprda.wpengine.com

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