Storm knocks out power

Perry
Perry Bergson
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A vicious storm that ripped through central Saskatchewan late Monday

night could leave Prince Albert residents without power for up to 48

hours.

Rotating service could return within 24 hours.

SaskPower CEO Robert Watson told a teleconference on Tuesday afternoon

that the "unprecedented" storm left a massive trail of destruction.

"I can't think in the history of Saskatchewan, all the way from one

side of the province to the other and father north," he said. "It's

just the extent of the damage also that is quite dramatic."

Two lines were damaged near North Battleford and 10 kilometres of

lines were toppled near Meadow Lake. The latter is already back in

service, with North Battleford expected to be back on line around

midnight on Tuesday.

Mike Marsh, SaskPower's vice president of transmission and

distribution, said the destruction is also severe near Prince Albert.

"We've got one transmission line with four towers down and two that

are damaged. These are preliminary reports," Marsh said. "We're

working to have power restored in the next 48 hours with possibility

of some rotating outages to get some power into the P.A. area."

SaskPower has mobilized its staff and reached out to contractors and

out-of-province workers to deal with the situation. But having the

people ready is only part of the battle.

The terrain they are dealing with and the shape it's in are making a

hard job even tougher.

"Conditions are wet and muddy and in some cases there is very

treacherous terrain as well," Marsh said, adding that crews and

materials are being moved into the affected areas.

In Prince Albert, schools were closed and the St. Mary graduation was postponed.

Most businesses were closed, with those selling things like gas and

generators doing very well. But with no power, cash was king as debit

and credit cards didn't work.

The city asked residents to conserve water and be careful with

flushing and washing to avoid sewer backup.

Elective surgeries were cancelled at Victoria Hospital, but backup

generators ensured the facility remained functional.

Police reported that a roof collapsed on an apartment building and

there was a huge increase in false alarms from home security systems.

Meanwhile, John Paul Cragg, Environment Canada's severe weather

specialist for Saskatchewan, said the storm was a bad one -- with

winds in excess of 90 km/h -- but not out of line with what the

province experiences.

"Saskatchewan gets 85 severe weather events on average each year and

12 tornadoes each year on average, so these types of events are pretty

common."

Organizations: Prince Albert, SaskPower, Victoria Hospital Environment Canada

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, North Battleford, Meadow Lake P.A.

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Recent comments

  • rita
    June 27, 2012 - 12:48

    this storm was a bad 1 personally i had to trow out a lot of food( im sure we all did) so it can be very costly for everyone. what i cant ubderstand is how can the casino stay open?