Lengthy clean-up ahead in Prince Albert after brief but powerful storm
SASKATOON -- A crash alerted Karen Cyr’s family to a large ash tree that had blown over in her driveway and on top of her car on Wednesday morning.
“I’ve never seen that in my life ever,” said Cyr. “The winds were so bad, I thought the hail would have damaged my vehicle, not a tree.”
Cyr says she’s thankful no one was hurt.
Her next door neighbour, Joyce Cook, was at work during the storm but came home to check on her children and deal with the fallen tree.
“I called my insurance and they said to call the city to see if they’d take the tree down,” said Cook. She called the city but hired a private arborist to come and remove the tree.
City Hall in Prince Albert fielded more than 100 calls from the public about the storm and damages.
Prince Albert city manager Jim Toye says multiple crews from different departments were dedicated to the clean-up. Many trees along River Street, Sixth Avenue and the Rotary Trail were broken.
“It’s going to take us well into next week to do what we need to do, to clean up the trees to make sure that they’re safe,” said Toye.
He says winds of up to 60 km/h are forecast for the evening, so they’re going to triage the calls and make sure the trees that threaten property will be taken down first.
“There’s a lot of priority trees that will be taken down today or hopefully by tomorrow,” Toye said.
The city closed many facilities when power was lost. Cook Municipal Golf Course, Alfred Jenkins Field House and the city water parks are closed for the remainder of the day.
Toye said the Prince Albert Fire Department had 23 calls for service due to fires caused by down power lines.
The most notable was a call of people being trapped in their vehicle due to flooding near a toppled powerline.
Students from Ecole St. Mary High School were evacuated to Sacred Heart Cathedral around 10 a.m. due to a small electrical fire.