High winds cause power outages, widespread damage in Edmonton, central Alberta

Environment Canada has issued a wind warning for most of central Alberta tonight.

Downed electrical lines reported in Edmonton, Strathcona County, Leduc County, Camrose County, Kitscoty

Strong winds cause umbrellas to collapse in downtown Edmonton. 0:44

Thousands of people were without power in Edmonton and central Alberta Tuesday night as high winds swept through the region.

Strong winds from the northwest between Edmonton and Red Deer reached speeds in excess of 100 km/h in some areas.

Environment Canada warned homeowners to expect damage to buildings, including falling shingles and broken windows.

Power outages

Shortly after 5 p.m., Epcor reported power outages in the Garneau neighbourhood from 104th Street to 114th Street between 82nd Avenue and 96th Avenue, due to a downed tree that fell onto power lines. 
A downed tree near 83rd Avenue and 111th Street, knocked out power to residents in Garneau. (@JaneDoe82162111/Twitter)

Downed power lines also caused outages near the University of Alberta from 109th Street to 115th Street between 76th Avenue and 90th Avenue.

"We began preparing for this earlier in the day, we knew it was coming," Epcor spokesperson Tim le Riche told CBC Edmonton Tuesday night. "At about 5 o'clock, we had the first reported outages."

Epcor had six power outages across the city Tuesday evening, but in most cases power was restored quickly, le Riche said.

However, restoring power to Garneau was proving to be more difficult, he added.

"It's a big tree," le Riche said. "It's going to take most of the night if not all of the night to get that back because of the extensive damage to the line."

A downed tree near 83rd Avenue and 111th Street, knocked out power to residents in Garneau. (@JaneDoe82162111/Twitter)

Fortis Alberta said 3,512 people lost power in Strathcona County, Leduc County and Camrose County. The power outages began around 7:05 p.m. 

Fortis Alberta said they were hoping to restore power to residents of the three counties by 10 p.m. 

Rogers Place entryway closed

In anticipation of the storm, officials from Rogers Place closed the pedestrian portal off 103rd Avenue and 103rd Street for the Edmonton Oilers game against — fittingly — the Carolina Hurricanes.

"Oilers Entertainment Group and PCL track the wind forecast on an hourly basis and has determined the active construction site in which the portal resides could pose a safety threat for guests coming to Rogers Place tonight," the group said in a press release before the game Tuesday.

Game attendees were asked to access Rogers Place from the lobby off 104th Avenue next to the Grand Villa Edmonton Casino.

Village without water

High winds knocked over a power pole and transformer in Kitscoty, Alta., just west of Lloydminster, disrupting power to the village's water treatment plant just before 9 p.m. Tuesday.

The village said the plant's primary and backup power supply were both affected, temporarily leaving the town without water treatment facilities.

"Water will not be available until this is resolved," the village said in a press release Tuesday.

As of 10 p.m., the water treatment plant had restored its backup power but was expecting further disruptions before the main power source is restored Wednesday.

South of Edmonton, a tree fell over and damaged power lines in Jarvis Bay on Sylvan Lake, according to Alberta Emergency Alert.

Winds were expected to weaken as the night progressed and moved east towards Saskatchewan overnight.

According to Environment Canada,100 km/h winds are expected to return Wednesday afternoon in southern Alberta.  

With files from Anna Desmarais