Buildings damaged in Paulatuk after windstorm knocks out power

Power crews were having trouble getting to Paulatuk, N.W.T., where residents have been without electricity since Sunday.

Power crews were delayed getting to community after weather hampered trip out of Inuvik

Crumpled metal in Paulatuk, N.W.T., Monday. Crews were having trouble getting to the community where residents have been without power since Sunday. (Submitted by Raymond Ruben )

Crews are working to restore power in Paulatuk, N.W.T., after a windstorm hit the hamlet yesterday afternoon.

Mayor Raymond Ruben said winds reached over 100 kilometres per hour in one of the worst windstorms the hamlet has ever seen. He said a number of sheds were sent flying and even parts of a roof was torn off.

Metal from a home wrapped around the playground. (Submitted by Raymond Ruben)

"The new roof was peeled off the top of the house, including the chimney, so there was a gaping hole on the furnace room side."

Ruben says parts of the roof and insulation are now scattered across the community's playground, and flying debris caused power lines to be severed.

After the roof blew off, he said, the family who lived in the house used ropes to safely reach the school, which was opened as an emergency warming shelter.

"They dressed up and, from what I was told, tied each other with rope together and made their way to the school. And then slowly people were making their way from those houses that were badly affected in the north end."

In all, three or four families made use of the shelter.

The roof was ripped off Ruben Ruben's home Sunday, sending the family seeking shelter at the local school. (Submitted by Ruben Sr. Ruben )

Internet, phone back on

Crews from the Northwest Territories Power Corporation (NTPC) arrived in the community Monday afternoon, along with a Northwestel technician. In a tweet, the power corporation said the initial estimate was that it would take up to five hours to restore power to the community.

Internet and telephone service was restored earlier Monday, according to Northwestel.

Power crews initially had trouble getting to the community where residents have been without power since Sunday, in part due to weather in Inuvik. That community was under a freezing rain warning, with temperatures hovering around –6 C.

As of Monday afternoon, the temperature in Paulatuk was –7 C, with a wind chill of –16, and drifting snow and winds gusting up to 80 km/h, according to Environment Canada.

"It's fortunate the temperatures we're dealing with are only –8 or –9 C," Raymond Ruben said.

The school will continue to serve as a warming shelter for families in need.

With files from Mackenzie Scott


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