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Ferocious winds hit southern Alberta, leading to hundreds of power outages in Lethbridge

Click to play video 'Ferocious winds hit southern Alberta' Ferocious winds hit southern Alberta
WATCH ABOVE: Southern Alberta is known for being windy, but today's level of high winds certainly surpassed what residents are generally used to. Taz Dhaliwal has more on the power outages and damage witnessed across the region – Jan 13, 2021

Extreme winds wreaked havoc all over southern Alberta on Wednesday as a wind warning was in full effect. The windy weather started in the early morning hours and carried into the rest of the day.

Hundreds of Lethbridge residents experienced power outages.

There were also downed trees, damage to several buildings and debris flying around the region.

“I see there’s a lot of shingles ripped off, I went for a walk — a short walk to take those pictures — and then coming back, I had to walk right into the west wind and it was brutal,” said Brent Kunz, a Taber resident.

“It almost feels apocalyptic.”

Kunz added that despite living in a windy region, the weather conditions he and his family experienced on Wednesday were unlike anything they’re accustomed to seeing.

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Read more: Blizzard conditions create hazardous roads in southern Alberta

People took to social media to share photos of the damage.

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One resident in Taber was even able to capture a video of her neighbour’s roof being blown off by the aggressive wind.

A Taber women captures the moment her neighbour’s roof blew off during severe windy weather conditions on Wednesday. Dorothy Hart

As of early Monday afternoon, 311 Lethbridge reported it had received:

  • 20 calls of downed trees or major tree breaks
  • Seven calls related to waste and recycling bins being blown away by the wind
  • 565 calls of power outages

Several traffic lights at intersections and streets lights also lost power.

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Schools across the city let students out early due to the outages, while city crews worked quickly to restore power.

The city says it’s a good reminder to be ready for unexpected situations.

Read more: Drivers face treacherous driving conditions on southern Alberta highways

“Today’s a perfect example of why we really try to encourage individual preparedness in our community,” said Luke Palmer, manger of emergency preparedness with the City of Lethbridge.

“Really, [what] we’ve seen today where a vast majority of the city experienced some level of power outages, whether they were short-term or long-term, but while those crews on working on that, it’s really important that you have the necessities to take care of yourself as well as your family,” Palmer added.
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He goes on to say things like flashlights, candles, food, and warm blankets are essential items people should have in their emergency kit.

Palmer adds the kit should be able to get people through at least 72 hours.