Mayor Ian Hamilton noticed first-hand the million-dollar mess made in North Battleford by a vicious storm Monday night.
“Every street on my way home last night was littered with debris and trees,” said Hamilton, who said he had a pretty good idea of what was going on with the severe storm that hit the area.
The final estimates were yet to come in, but fire chief Pat MacIsaac “is estimating into the millions,” Hamilton told reporters Tuesday.
“So, yes there was significant damage,” said the mayor, pointing to residences, cars and trees and limbs. He particularly noted the tree damage.
“There were many, many trees uprooted and laying on houses' rooftops and the garage,” said Hamilton, who noted it was “quite an event.”
He urged residents to be mindful of the crews and the many people working the streets to clean up.
“It would be great if they just recognize there are a lot of people walking and clearing and sawing. It's a very active area throughout the whole city.”
He also cautioned residents to be careful about weak limbs in trees that haven't fallen yet. Hamilton urged people to stay home instead of going out to look at the damage.
Hamilton adds city crews have been “absolutely fantastic” in working through the night to clear the debris.
Flooding was a big concern, after the community's experience the last major storm of this magnitude to hit the Battlefords in the summer of 2010. The mayor noted flooding was not a big issue this time around.
“There were certainly hotspots throughout the city where there are collector areas that did present themselves some difficulties,” said Hamilton, but there were “no significant amounts of residential flooding” at this point in time.
Hail did not appear to be an issue either, but wind was pointed to as the main factor with the Monday storm.
“There was significant damage and it was all wind damage,” said Hamilton.
“The winds did exceed 100 kilometres an hour in places, and there were unconfirmed reports of funnel clouds reaching the ground.”
He does know of an acreage about two kilometres outside of the city that sustained major damage from the wind.
He also told reporters that there isn't significant damage to city infrastructure, other than to the city's greenery and trees.
Hamilton also anticipated the prospect of rolling power outages, as lines were down throughout the north of the province.
The mayor also commented about Monday night's city council meeting, which ended up having to adjourn to Tuesday when the storm hit and knocked out power to the council chamber.
“Getting out of the building was interesting,” said Hamilton of the experience.
When council reconvened Tuesday at noon to finish the business left over from Monday night, Fire Chief Pat MacIsaac gave councillors an update on what he referred to as a “significant wind storm event” the previous evening.
The fire chief noted there was no confirmation yet on whether the storm had been a plow wind, or “something more dramatic” like a tornado.
He noted many large trees were down, many of them onto homes and vehicles. The 7-Eleven awning was down as well.
A major power line that went up to Meota and St. Walburg actually came down during the storm and trapped a person, MacIsaac noted.
North Battleford Fire and Emergency Services responded to over 20 emergencies Monday night, he reported. As soon as the storm started, personnel were called in from throughout the various city departments with 30 of them responding.
The City activated their Emergency Operations Centre during the height of the storm, and MacIsaac said that functioned smoothly.
MacIsaac also credited citizens of the community for stepping up and looking after each other while power was out, although he noted cleanup efforts were hampered by “onlookers and people driving around to see what was going on.”
As far as city infrastructure was concerned, there was damage to the roof of a public works building and also to the parks and recreation fencing and trees.
Councillor Grace Lang noted the swift response of emergency crews for responding to the cleanup so quickly.
“I was shocked at the amount of equipment the city had on the street,” said Lang, who noted bylaw enforcement was in also out in full force. Lang said she was impressed and added that the comment she has gotten from the general public is that they have noticed it too.