Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Saturday's weather blows... literally

Tree falls on house, power cut to many

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SATURDAY'S blustery weather was to blame for the uninvited guest that tried to barge into Jorge Alvarez's home Saturday afternoon.

The Centennial neighbourhood resident was watching television just after noon on Saturday when he heard a very loud bang and felt his house shake.

"I looked through my front door's window and could only see leaves and branches. I went to the door and couldn't open it. A big tree had blown down on my house," Alvarez said as he waited for city officials to come and remove the fallen tree. The six-metre tree used to sit on the patch of road between the sidewalk and road in front of Alvarez's Patrick Street home.

Alvarez said although the tree caused extensive damage to the door and roof of his single-storey home, that wasn't what made him most upset about the tree intrusion.

"My three grandchildren had just left five minutes before that, through the front door. A very close call," Alvarez said.

Alvarez's leafy gate-crasher wasn't the only one causing an inconvenience Saturday.

Anthonie Koop, senior communications officer with Manitoba Hydro, said a large tree blew down on a feeder at Fermor Avenue and St. Anne's Road just before 10 a.m., causing about 1,400 homeowners in the St. Vital area to lose power for about an hour.

The wind also caused a plastic tarp to blow onto and wrap around some power lines, causing about 600 people in the Inkster Park area to lose power at 10 a.m. for almost two hours.

Koop said at about 2 p.m., Manitoba Hydro had already received calls from about 400 customers and, as a result, had to call in extra staff to help remedy the outages.

"It's been a very busy day all day, a lot of branches touching lines because of the wind, causing a lot of flickering lights and outages," Koop said.

Mark Melsness, with Environment Canada, said winds in Winnipeg reached about 50 to 60 kilometres an hour with gusts blowing at about 75 km/h. There were also gale warnings for the Lake Winnipeg area.

katherine.dow@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 10, 2012 A4

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