Fierce storm knocks out power to Airdrie, surrounding areas
A brief but fierce storm tore through Airdrie and surrounding areas at about 3 p.m. on Aug. 14.
Rain, hail and winds gusted up to about 100 kilometres per hour, flooding intersections, causing delays for drivers and knocking out power.
Approximately 27,000 customers in Airdrie, Crossfield, Irricana, Beiseker and parts of Rocky View and Mountain View counties were without power for roughly an hour, according to Mona Bartsoff, FortisAlberta spokesperson.
“It was big,” said Bartsoff. “The trouble was on (AltaLink’s) transmission system. There was a trip on the line.”
Fortis crews worked cooperatively with AltaLink to restore power first to CrossIron Mills mall at around 4:15 p.m., then Airdrie and surrounding areas.
Bartsoff said the power company was flooded with calls during the widespread power outage, which extended into parts of Calgary.
The entire city of Airdrie was without power for about an hour, and the City was forced to shut down Genesis Place, according to Lynda Phelan, Airdrie’s team lead of corporate communications.
“The pumping system for the pools was down,” said Phelan. “Everything was closed for about an hour.”
Sirens wailed around the city as Airdrie fire crews responded to 16 incidents, including seven alarm investigations, four motor-vehicle collisions, people trapped in three elevators, one carbon monoxide and one flooding-related call, between 2:30 p.m. and 4:10 p.m., according to a press release.
Phelan added all of Airdrie’s streetlights were out, with drivers using four-way-stop rules.
“Some of the major intersections were temporarily flooded,” said Phelan. “That was due to the volume of water that goes into the sewer system, which cleared about half-an-hour after the storm.”
Calls from residents lit up the City’s switchboards and workers were sent to replace a manhole cover on Big Hill Springs Drive that was missing after the storm.
The City maintained auxiliary power through a backup generator, said Phelan.
The Calgary International Airport’s weather reporting station showed temperatures dropped from 23°C to 11°C in the span of an hour. There were unconfirmed media reports of a tornado touching down in the Balzac area.
According to Environment Canada’s website, temperatures are set to rise, with weekend temperatures as high as 29°C on Aug. 18.