Saturday storm creates chaos

Residents of Edmonton woke up yesterday to find trees knocked over,power outages ongoing and the city a mess as heavy winds and lightningstorm struck the city.

Residents of Edmonton woke up yesterday to find trees knocked over, power outages ongoing and the city a mess as heavy winds and lightning storm struck the city.

The thunderstorm hit Edmonton late Saturday, wreaking havoc with the city’s power system.

“The city’s electrical grid took a serious hit,” Tim LeRiche, spokesman for Epcor, said. “We lost 40 circuits and 55 power outages (are) the estimates.”

The company had to call in extra workers to keep up with the workload, which included power lines down, trees uprooted and pole fires and as winds picked up again late yesterday.

“Just as we thought we had a handle of it, we had more outages (Sunday),” LeRiche said.

“There’s still more power out right now ... The primary focus is the safety of our people and the public.”

Fire crews were also kept busy as three dispatchers were called in to meet the spike of emergency calls.

“There was a huge variety (of calls),” said Tim Wilson, communications officer for Edmonton Fire Rescue Services.

“They had power lines falling, power outages and a lot of damage from wind (but) the fire department is always prepared.”

Those same heavy winds tore down a concrete overhang from the CN building downtown, injuring one woman and crushing two vehicles.

The aftermath of the damage was caught on an iPhone by Jerry Aulenbach, 28, who saw people on Twitter.com saying the foundation of the building was falling. He decided to go take a look himself, only to see that it was not the foundation of the building that had fallen but rather the overhang.

“I realized an inch-thick of plaster dropped on these two vehicles,” Aulenbach said.

“Two cars were crushed … one guy was in the truck that got hit but didn’t get hurt. He probably wet his pants.”

Aulenbach then posted the photos from what happened on Twitter, and in less than a day, the site has had over 1,400 views.

 
 
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