Wind damage reported as gusts reach 167 km/h

By Geoff Smith (@GeoffSmithLNN on Twitter)
December 14, 2018 - 5:39am Updated: December 14, 2018 - 9:52am

LETHBRIDGE – The wind was a major force in southwestern Alberta Thursday, Dec. 13. And there’s more to come, the weather office warns.

“I can tell you that all of our staff were out and on various scenes including the RCMP, who were incredibly busy,” Fort Macleod chief administrative officer Sue Keenan said Friday. She said some large evergreen trees were downed by the wind.

Video by Katarina Grisnich on Facebook

The peak gust recorded by a 511 Alberta monitoring station was 167 km/h (103 mph) on Highway 6 north of the Waterton Park Gate. The agency also recorded peaks of 154 km/h on Highway 22 north of Lundbreck, 130 km/h at Granum, 128 on Highway 3 west of Fort Macleod, 115 km/h at Cowley, and 109 on Highway 2 south of Nanton.

The official weather station at Fort Macleod reported a peak gust of 128 km/h, with 137 recorded at the Waterton Park gate, 128 at Brocket, 115 at Claresholm, 111 at Pincher Creek and Del Bonita, and 106 at Ardenville.

Video by Michele Kathrein on Facebook

“Thank God nothing really hit power lines,” Keenan said. “We did have some power lines down, but Fortis did a remarkable job with their crews out here getting things restored. We still have a couple people without power for various reasons.”

She also said part of a motel roof was lifted by the wind, and the tin roofing on some town storage sheds was also affected. But the effort was focused on public safety.

“It was just residential areas and the downtown core we were most concerned with. That’s what kept our crews busy, and of course, everybody was out on the highways dealing with overturned trucks and recreational vehicles and that kind of thing. My hope is that people started hearing some of these advisories a little bit, a little bit more seriously.”

511 Alberta continued to advise large lightweight vehicles not to use Highway 2 north of Fort Macleod. A wind warning remained in effect for regions west of Lethbridge, where gusts up to 120 km/h were expected to continue Friday and Saturday.

(This story has been updated.)

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