Big blackout of 2012
A severe thunderstorm rolled through the Prince Albert area Monday night leaving destruction in its wake.
What began as an intense light show enjoyed by many quickly turned into grape-sized hail followed by a torrential downpour.
After about 20 minutes of sheets of rain power across the entire city went out.
One of the first causalities of the storm was an apartment block on the 100-block of Eight Street East.
The downpour caused a severe leak in the roof and the building to be evacuated.
"I woke up and getting drenched with water so I moved my bed and I looked up and moved my bed, then I heard a collapse in the next room and I guess the ceiling caved in," said Jason Henderson.
He and about 10 other occupants in the building were taken by Mobile Crisis to a place to stay overnight.
Meanwhile, around town, streets were flooded and, despite a lack of street- and traffic lights there was relatively high traffic.
At least one accident was reported that required a tow truck.
At around midnight, a home on the 100-block of 23rd Street West caught on fire.
Crews battled the blaze and were able to rescue the homeowner's pets that were inside the home.
No one was injured.
Meanwhile emergency crews were kept extremely busy as they attended accidents, ambulance calls and false alarms all around the city.
SaskPower speaks on power outage
It may take 48 hours before Prince Albert has power again.
SaskPower has confirmed that there are a number of transmission structures down and damage is quite extensive in the Prince Albert area.
However there is no confirmation on the total area affected.
They said a meeting is taking place right now between the area directors.
A spokesperson from SaskPower said they have had crews on site all night and they have brought in crews from out of province as well.
In a press release it states that Meadow Lake and Nortth Battleford could be without power for another 18-24 hours.
SaskPower wants to remind residents of some safety precautions:
- If you see a damaged power line assume it is energized and stay far back.
- Phone SaskPower's 24 hour toll free outage number - 310-2220
- Turn off or unplug appliances, computers or electronics but leave one light on so you know when the power has turned back on.
Classes and buses for the Sask Rivers, Catholic School Divisions and some Separate School Divisions have been cancelled today. Staff are at the schools.
Exams at SIAST have been postponed, St. Mary Grad has been postponed until 2 p.m.tomorrow and PACE grad is postponed until further notice.
Classes are still however happening per usual at some school's in other communities including Kinistino and St. Louis.
Some facilities will not be able to process or deliver mail today due to the storm and some 18,500 residents will likely not receive mail delivery today.
Once the power is restored Canada Post will resume normal operations as quickly as possible.
City urging public to conserve water
The City of Prince Albert is asking residents not to shower or flush toilets while the power remains out.
The water treatment plant is without power and officials say there is a risk of back ups. Currently the cities pumping stations are on manual and cannot handle large flows.
Pharmacies across town closed but Hospital still operating
Without computers, pharmacies are unable to fill news prescriptions but may be able to provide perscriptions that were ready for pick-up.
Without power and without computers and with the need for many medicines to be kept refrigerated, Dennis Fries from Pharmasave says the best option is to go to a hospital in a medical emergency.
Doug Dahl communications officer with the health region said Victoria Hospitla is operating on vital systems.
He said one thing that might affect patients is some elective surgeries have been cancelled, however emergency surgies will still be performed.
Dahl advises residents not to visit the hospital unless it is an emergency.
Firecrews had a busy night and morning
Monday night was a busy night for the Prince Albert Fire Department and it continues today.
Firecrews responded to several calls in a short period of time throughout the night that continued until this morning. Many of the calls were alarms in busineses that went off.
So far there have been no reports of injuries.
City buildings and most businesses closed
All city buildings are closed and most businesses within the city of Prince Albert.
City of La Ronge also without power
The city of La Ronge is also without power right now.
Mayor Thomas Sierzycki said the community missed most of the storm but there is still some damage.
He is also asking residents to conserve water and said once the power is back up they will be on a precautionary boil water advisory.
Water in short supply
Water is such an important commodity in times like this, and the Purified Water Store has it but not for long.
PWS employee Kevin Hart said its supply of water and ice won’t last the day and will likely run out by mid-afternoon.
The Purified Water Store is the only open in the South Hill Plaza and the surrounding area that’s selling water. The Safeway grocery store and restaurants in the area are all closed.
Do you have photos or video of the storm? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
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