Strong winds create havoc in southern Alberta

Heavy wind causes damage to LDS Chapel on city's south side. Teri Fikowski/Global News

Heavy wind is no stranger to southern Alberta but that doesn’t mean it can easily be ignored.

Wind warnings stretched across Lethbridge and region Monday with Environment Canada reporting gusts at nearly 140 kilometers an hour.

Those strong winds tore away at the roof of the LDS chapel on 10th street south.

According to the facility’s manager, Stuart Morgan, large sections of metal shingles posed a safety risk to surrounding residents.

“That’s not something we want flying around and coming loose, so it’s really a concern not just for the building but for the safety of people coming around,” he adds.

Due to a number of rollovers on Highway 22, the RCMP issued an advisory for semi trailers and larger vehicles to avoid travel.

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Later in the day, and seemingly out of nowhere, Lethbridge was also slammed with blowing snow.

Retired meteorologist Elwyn Holmberg says the dramatically changing weather is not all that surprising for the area.

“It was a very marked switch that was caused by a lower pressure centre that came down from northern Alberta and drove a cold front southward and that’s now moving on to Saskatchewan and Manitoba,” he adds.

For those working outside like letter carrier Darrell Gautheir, being prepared is a necessity.

“Not only do you have to deal with 100 plus kilometers winds, but we have to deal with really slippery sidewalks and streets.  You have to press into the wind and sometimes when you go around the corner it will really get you so you have to be ready for anything,” he says.

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