Crews clear Calgary of debris after wild windstorm
The day after a wild windstorm tore through Calgary, crews spent hours cleaning up the broken glass, toppled trees and downed power lines that lay strewn about the streets.
CTV Calgary reported that there were traffic tie-ups Monday, as a result of the clean-up from Sunday's storm. City buses were taking detours in some cases, and a portion of the LRT line was halted while crews dealt with problematic debris.
By Monday afternoon, all downtown LRT platforms had reopened, with the exception of the 3rd Street stop.
CTV Calgary's Chris Epp reported Monday evening that the city's public transit system will be fully operational for Tuesday morning rush hour.
None of the tracks sustained any damage in the storm, the city said.
Officials also had to shut down several square blocks of the downtown core, so that they could remove debris and conduct inspections. By late Monday, one block near the TD Tower was still roped off.
CTV Calgary reporter Sage Pullen said officials were being cautious, checking buildings for any unseen structural damage that could put people at risk.
Bruce Burrell, the director of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency, said officials were taking the necessary steps to ensure that the buildings with potential damage were checked out.
Later in the day, Burrell said officials had yet to estimate the damage caused by the storm, but it will likely be in the millions of dollars.
The wind ripped windows right out of the 40-storey TD Tower, while flying debris caused windows to break in another nearby building.
On Monday, the City of Calgary issued a press release indicating that "no major injuries were reported" as a result of the storm. One firefighter sustained minor injuries as a result of falling glass, the city said.
"We're the luckiest city in the world, I've got to tell you," Burrell told reporters. "It's incredibly hard to believe that given the amount of debris that's on the streets and the amount of pieces of glass and shards of glass that were all over the downtown area last evening…that we did not have more significant injuries."
According to Burrell, 311 and 911 operators received four days' worth of calls in a five-hour period at the storm's peak.
The same windstorm tore through large swaths of southern Alberta, carrying powerful winds that reached 140 km/h in some instances. In at least one case, the massive winds were enough to push a tractor-trailer onto its side on a highway.
In Lethbridge, the high-speed winds fuelled a dangerous grass fire, which left officials scrambling to move people out of harm's way on Sunday.
One hundred people living just west of Lethbridge were initially ordered to leave their homes Sunday, followed by another 25 who were also forced out on Sunday evening.
Overnight, Jesse Kurtz, the Lethbridge fire department platoon chief, said the fire was under control, but continues to burn in an area located about 6.5 kilometres west of the city centre.
The evacuation order was lifted on Monday.
Kurtz said the fire did not damage any homes, but it did claim some "sheds and corrals."
Lethbridge firefighters were also forced to fight a fire inside an industrial building that lost its roof as a result of the windstorm.
With files from The Canadian Press and a report from CTV Calgary