Edmonton·Photos

As wind subsides, Edmonton airport flights return to normal

As the wind died down late Wednesday afternoon flights at Edmonton International Airport resumed landing and taking off, officials say.

Spring storm with high winds downs power lines and snarls traffic across the city

Winds gusting at speeds up to 77 km/h knocked over trees throughout Edmonton, knocking out power, blocking roads and damaging buildings. Jamie Stickwood describes the damage at his home. 1:01

As the wind died down late Wednesday afternoon flights at Edmonton International Airport were once again landing and taking off, officials say.

As of 5 p.m. MT, the wind at the airport was reported to be "steadily declining in speed" and scheduled flights began arriving and departing.

Passengers were advised to confirm flight times with their airlines.
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      The airport was brought to a near standstill earlier Wednesday as a spectacular wind storm swept through the region. The storm caused many incoming flights to be diverted to other airports, and outbound flights to be temporarily grounded.

      The storm wreaked havoc across the city and at times left thousands without power. The wind snapped tree trunks and tossed at least two trampolines around residential neighbourhoods.

      Epcor spokesman Tim le Riche said there were "multiple reports" of power lines down across the city.
      A tree toppled onto a car. (Andrea Huncar/CBC)

      "It's almost entirely all wind," he said. "The high winds not only knock trees into the lines but the lines start to wave around, and then they start banging into each other and that pulls them off their connections or shorts them out."

      At least 5,000 residents were without power on Wednesday afternoon.

      Edmonton police spokeswoman Cheryl Sheppard said officers dealt with a few traffic snarls due to downed trees. Officers had also received reports of at least two trampolines "flying around" the city.

      The storm brought wind gusts of up to 77 km/h to the Edmonton region. The same cold front ripped through B.C. Tuesday night, downing power lines and leaving more than 100,000 homes without power.

      The storm reached northern Alberta early Wednesday.

      Jo-Anne Demers has lived in the Alberta Beach area for the past 10 years and said she has never seen a storm like this one.

      "It's taken out everybody's dock piers ... there's debris all over the place," she said early Wednesday afternoon.

      "The waves are splashing up hard enough that they're hitting our front windows. This will probably never happen ever again in our lifetime, thank God."

      Demers has already called her insurance company about the damage.

      The storm brought strong northerly winds that began early Wednesday afternoon. Between 20 and 30 millimetres of rain was expected to fall in some regions, according to an alert from Environment Canada.

      Severe weather warnings were in place much of day for a large swath of the province, including Edmonton, St. Albert and Sherwood Park.

      Environment Canada urged caution on local roads, and reminded Albertans to prepare for possible property damage from the battering winds.

      The storm was expected to move east to the Saskatchewan border by Wednesday night.

      ​"This is a pretty complex storm but it's fast moving," said CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe. That's the good news.

      "By tomorrow afternoon this should have kicked eastward."