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    Default Violent storm damages Edmonton's CN Tower

    Violent storm damages Edmonton's CN Tower

    By Laura Drake and Therese Kehler, Edmonton Journal
    July 19, 2009
    StoryPhotos ( 1 )Video ( 1 )
    CN Tower front entrance collapses during storm on Staurday, July 18, 2009.
    Photograph by: Ian Jackson, Edmonton Journal

    EDMONTON -- Trees and power lines fell across Edmonton Saturday night, felled by violent winds that were at one point strong enough to rip the bottom out of the floor of one downtown building, crushing several vehicles.


    Around 10 p.m., the severe weather tore down the awning of the CN Tower, in the city's downtown.


    The building has a second floor wider than its base, and the material that made up the overhang came crashing down on an SUV and a truck.


    No one was hurt and the building was evacuated. Onlookers braved pouring rain and, at times, hail, to gawk at the debris that littered the ground. The falling material dragged most of the "CN Tower" sign above the main doors down, leaving only the N, T, O and the W hanging by a wire.


    Glass from the crash was scattered around the street.


    Brian Danyluk was driving down the street just as the crash happened.


    "The winds were just howling," said Danyluk, who took pictures of the wreckage.


    Environment Canada meteorologist Blair Morrow said a gust front sent winds howling through the city at speeds up to 110 km/h.


    "The thunderstorms produced the winds, so it was straight line winds just plowing through everything," he said.


    Saturday night, Environment Canada had no confirmed reports of tornadoes, and Morrow said that by midnight, the worst of it was over.


    Epcor spokesman Tim LeRiche said the winds took out power poles and power lines all over the city, and said the situation sparked several fires. He said he couldn't estimate the number of houses and businesses affected by outages, only that the storm's impact was enormous.


    Ensuring public safety was paramount as crews were assigned to deal with the cleanup, which was expected to carry on into Sunday.


    Power outages saw bars and restaurants booting out their customers and locking their doors, according to one restaurant owner.


    "The streets were full of people," said Howie Silverman, co-owner of a restaurant.


    At his establishment, diners were told that if they were already eating, the meal was on the house, and if they didn't have food yet "they weren't getting any." Then the restaurant, like every other business along the avenue, shut down for the night.


    "Now the streets are empty. The entire avenue is black," he said, about two hours after the power went out at 10 p.m.


    "It's creepy."


    Silverman said police were directing traffic, and keeping things calm. His concern was now for the food in his freezers and refrigerators, as he waited for the power to be turned back on.


    For those inside, the storm was the talk of the Internet, with so many users on the microblogging site Twitter talking about it that the symbol used to denote Edmonton - #yeg - became one of the site's top 10 "Trending Topics."

    © Copyright (c) Canwest News Service
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

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    Default

    Must have brought back some bad memories of the tornado.

    Edmonton cleans up after fierce storm
    By Karen Kleiss, Edmonton Journal
    July 19, 2009
    StoryPhotos ( 2 )Video ( 2 )
    More Images » Gean Atkin examines a tree in her front yard that was uprooted and fell across the street in front of his house in Edmonton on July 19, 2009. Hundreds of trees in the city were uprooted by a severe thunderstorm that brought high winds, lightning, thunder and hail to the Edmonton region shortly before midnight July 18, 2009.

    Photograph by: Larry Wong, Edmonton Journal

    EDMONTON — The violent thunderstorm that whipped through Edmonton Saturday night left thousands without power, downed hundreds of trees, stranded transit passengers throughout the city and deprived Edmontonians of their daily newspaper.


    Environment Canada meteorologist Ralph Bigio said winds peaked at 105 km/h at the City Centre Airport and some areas of the city were pelted with hail the size of marbles.


    The weather-watchers also received unconfirmed reports that a tornado touched down north of Camrose, that two funnel clouds were spotted near St. Paul, that swaths of 70-year-old trees are down near Andrew and that people near Lac La Biche saw hail as big as a toonie.


    Spokesman for utility Epcor, Tim LeRiche, said extra crews were called in and worked through the night to restore at least 40 power outages affecting thousands of people across the city, dousing pole fires and removing trees felled across wires.


    By 9:30 a.m. Sunday all but three circuits were back online as crews continued to work throughout the day.


    Edmonton Transit Service spokeswoman Patricia Dixon said the storm knocked out transit lines and brought the trains to a full stop at about 10 p.m. Stranded passengers were eventually bused to their destinations with the help of drivers working overtime.


    Police Staff Sgt. Ian McKnight reported “a bit of bedlam” in the streets because all of the traffic lights were out, but said it was too early to say whether criminals took advantage of the blackout.


    Veteran arborist Dennis Gruden received 25 calls in the half-hour after a violent thunderstorm whipped through the city, splitting the sky with lightning, pelting windows with marble-sized hail and knocking down trees.


    “It’s routine stuff for this kind of weather: trees on the car, trees on the house, trees on the power line, people trapped in houses,” Gruden said.


    “All we’re doing now is taking the emergency situations right now — trees that are interfering with anything, putting anybody’s safety at risk. We’ll be going for a couple of days on straight emergencies.”


    Edmonton Journal

    © Copyright (c) Canwest News Service
    Gean Atkin examines a tree in her front yard that was uprooted and fell across the street in front of his house in Edmonton on July 19, 2009. Hundreds of trees in the city were uprooted by a severe thunderstorm that brought high winds, lightning, thunder and hail to the Edmonton region shortly before midnight July 18, 2009.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

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