‘Get to safety’: Saskatoon assessing tree-toppling storm
Cleanup is underway in Saskatoon after an intense thunderstorm with high winds, hail and heavy rain rolled through the city on Thursday afternoon.
Wind ripped the roof off a business on Packham Avenue, with debris crashing down on vehicles.
Trees were toppled across the city, and power was out in a number of neighbourhoods as wind gusts reached 85 kilometres per hour.
The storm tore the roof off EFL Flooring’s building in the Sutherland neighbourhood. The building’s owner told Global News one employee narrowly escaped injury. He was in a pickup truck in the parking lot moments before it was crushed by the roof.
WATCH: Trees were strewn across streets and a tornado was confirmed west of Saskatoon on Thursday.
The powerful storm threw branches around the course at the Saskatoon Golf and Country Club, forcing the postponement of the Saskatchewan Men’s Amateur Golf Championship.
“[A] branch came down beside me and after that, everyone was just sprinting for the clubhouse. It was pretty scary,” said Danny Klughart, who won in a playoff round on Friday morning.
WATCH BELOW: Roof torn off business as storm rolls through Saskatoon
Jehremy Ryde, Klughart’s opponent, said he told his caddy “we’ve gotta get out of here” when the storm was moving in.
“I had no intentions of trying to hurry up to finish. Just get to safety, basically,” Ryde said.
Likely for the first time in its 24-year history, A Taste of Saskatchewan’s food festival had to be evacuated as a precaution on Thursday. Vendors returned later in the evening.
The Saskatoon Fire Department said crews responded to at least eight public hazards involving downed lines between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The Buena Vista, Queen Elizabeth, Erindale and West Industrial neighbourhoods lost power due to the storm. The problem was solved after roughly four and a half hours, according to the City of Saskatoon.
Roughly 60 staff members with the city were involved in the planning and response to the storm.
Pamela Goulden-McLeod, the city’s director of emergency management, said a plough wind knocked down 50 trees citywide, of which 20 were on power lines.
Parks crews prioritized clearing roadways and pathways on Friday, along with ensuring homes and vehicles were debris-free. They also checked hanging branches.
“In Saskatoon, our major hazard that we deal with on a regular basis is storms,” Goulden-McLeod said.
“So our citizens are well prepared for these.”
Storm-related damage was not limited to Saskatoon.
The powerful storm also ripped through Warman, just north of Saskatoon, downing trees.
Environment Canada confirmed a tornado touched down on the Red Pheasant First Nation, south of North Battleford, on Thursday afternoon.
There is no report of any damage.
WATCH: Tornado confirmed on Red Pheasant First Nation in Saskatchewan
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