Crews clean up after windstorm as City of Red Deer issues state of emergency

Winds peaked at 112 km/hr with 30% of the City losing power at one point

Following a violent windstorm Tuesday evening, the City of Red Deer declared a local state of emergency in response to numerous power outages and fallen debris across Red Deer.

The local state of emergency gave the City access to additional resources, including personnel, from other orders of government if required.

The last state of emergency was declared in Red Deer four years ago to the date on June 20th, 2013 due to flooding. The current local state of emergency will remain in effect for one week unless it is terminated early.

During the storm on Tuesday, winds peaked at 112 km/hr, officials told media at a press conference Wednesday morning. Reports of a tornado were not confirmed at that point as City officials waited to hear word from Environment Canada.

Power outages were recorded in 30% of the City at one point during the evening as well. Two of the hardest hit areas in the City included Vanier Woods where 12 power poles came down and in the area behind Village Mall where a number of power lines were down.

As well, one person was injured during the storm at the Lion’s Campground but was treated and released from hospital.

“Red Deer experienced an extreme storm last night; one that doesn’t compare to any I have ever experienced in Red Deer,” said Craig Curtis, City manager.

“The storm resulted in a number of power outages all across Red Deer. Due to the volume and complexity of outages, some neighbourhoods will take longer to be connected back to power. We are anticipating it could be up to two days for some areas, although this is only an estimate based on the information we have at this time.”

City crews spent the night following the storm assessing the damage as a result of the windstorm and triaging work, dealing with major safety issues first.

Red Deer County, the Town of Penhold and contractors had been providing assistance since early Tuesday evening to help get power back on and clean up the City.

“The priorities today will be some crews will be assessing and giving inventory of the scope of the clean up but the main priority will be power restoration because that is what is impacting our businesses and citizens,” said Mayor Tara Veer.

As of Wednesday morning, power was still out in approximately 10% of Red Deer.

A number of smaller outages were still being assessed.

As of Wednesday morning, the whole Waskasoo park system is currently closed until further notice to ensure the safety of residents and allow for the clean-up of the areas.

Officials also pointed out some tips to follow during a power outage.

Turn off appliances and unplug all sensitive electronic equipment. Keep one light switch turned on so you know when the power comes back on. Also, think safety. Do not bring your gas or charcoal barbecue indoors. Be careful with candles.

Please consider food safety during a power outage.

If the freezer door is left closed, food can stay frozen for many hours (12 to 48 hours depending on how full the freezer is and what kind of food is stored there). Most food will keep in the fridge for 24 hours. Dairy products, however, should be discarded after six hours.