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Wind storm: Hamilton cleans up after wild Monday

Hamilton took a beating Monday night as high winds lashed the city, uprooting trees, damaging buildings and making things difficult for firefighters trying to douse the flames at the Canada Bread plant on Nebo Road.

Wind gusts hit close to 100 km/h Monday evening

Hamilton took a beating Monday night as high winds lashed the city, uprooting trees, damaging buildings and making things difficult for firefighters trying to douse the flames at the Canada Bread plant on Nebo Road.

Police were extremely busy as well, as they received 133 traffic-related calls during the storm, police spokesperson Const. Debbie McGreal-Dinning told CBC Hamilton.

A large window at the former site of James Street Baptist Church - soon to be The Connolly condo project - toppled in the wind on Monday. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

That included everything from downed wires, traffic lights that weren't working, debris on roadways and collisions — which thankfully were all minor, she said.

Police started getting calls at 3:30 p.m., and that continued all the way to midnight.

"It was an extremely busy night for HPS," McGreal-Dinning said in an email.

Horizon Utilities crews spent much of the night repairing damage, after at least 7,000 homes across the city were without power.

As of Tuesday morning, crews were only dealing with sporadic outages on the Mountain and Dundas. About 180 Horizon customers the Hamilton and St Catharines area were still without power as of 9 a.m.

"We appreciate the patience of our customers while we work to bring power back on line. Most of the outages related to the storm are caused by large trees or branches falling on hydro lines or striking transformers/poles," Horizon Utilities said in a statement. "We expect remaining outages to be resolved today and will continue to post times for restoration on our website."

"Horizon Utilities crews and outside contractors are working around the clock to remove the trees from the lines safely, and then repair the damage so they can restore power as quickly as possible."

The city was also advising people to call in if they had problems clearing damage. “For City-service emergencies this morning including fallen branches, roads and more, call 905-546-CITY (2489), open 24/7,” the city tweeted.

The wind wreaked havoc at The Connolly, a high-rise condo project at the corner of James Street South and Jackson Street. Developers have demolished two-thirds of the former James Street Baptist Church. The wind toppled a large window, which had been removed and secured to the wall. The developer says it is cleaning up the window and aiming to restore it.

There were even reports of roofs being blown off hangars at the Burlington airpark Monday.

Firefighters also battled a major fire at the Canada Bread plant in Glanbrook Monday evening.

Crews were called in before 6 p.m. and found a heavy fire on the outside of the building, climbing the south side. ​The fire centred on one of the electrical transformers on the side of the building. Twenty trucks were sent to the fire, 15 of which were battling it at its peak.

About 100 workers were evacuated onto three transit buses parked outside.

Monday night’s fierce winds were driven by the arrival of a deep low-pressure system over northeastern Ontario dragging a cold front across Southern Ontario.

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