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Extreme winds tear down buildings, trees during Sask. windstorm

Friday, January 15th 2021, 10:07 am - If storm had been rated on Enhanced Fujita scale for rating tornadoes, it would be an EF-1

People across Saskatchewan are still assessing the damage after a storm ravaged the province this week.

Alex Getzlaf owns a business in Corinne, Sask., that was damaged by the wind. He said they had seen weather damage before, but not like this.

"[I] pulled up to the overhead shop door, and I was like, 'Oh crap. I need a new door,' and then I got out of the truck and looked, and I was like, 'Oh. I need a new shop,'" he said Thursday in a Skype interview.

"Looked like you opened up a can of tuna to me."

CBC/Fiona Odlum - Tarpco Manufacturing in Corinne, Sask., was severely damaged by the wind. Tarpco Manufacturing in Corinne, Sask., was severely damaged by the wind. (Fiona Odlum/CBC)

The RM of Bratt's Lake, where Getzlaf's shop is, had wind gusts of 143 km/h. If the storm had been rated on the Enhanced Fujita scale for rating tornadoes, it would be an EF-1. The Moose Jaw Airport recorded gusts of 161 km/h.

RELATED: Peak wind gust hits 145 km/h in southern Alberta, 9 all-time records set

"It's one of those things you know. You've been in business this long and you get to the point where you've created your clientele and things are going pretty smooth and then Mother Nature has different plans for you, I guess," he said.

Getzlaf said they lost some smaller supplies that blew away in the wind, and things in the shop are chaotic: there are bins full of snow and fabric rolls that were tipped over. He's hopeful his customers will be back, even if the cleanup and potential rebuild takes some time.

Overall, he's keeping a positive attitude.

"If you can't laugh, you can't live, so what the hell," he said.

(Matt Howard/CBC) Getzlaf said he's not sure if he can salvage the building yet, or if he'll have to tear down and restart. (Matt Howard/CBC) Getzlaf said he's not sure if he can salvage the building yet, or if he'll have to tear down and restart. (Matt Howard/CBC)

Bernard Novak farms in the RM of Bratt's Lake. On Thursday morning, his yard was a disaster area.

"From the neighbour's to my vicinity here, roofs are gone, chimneys off houses, one of the neighbours lost the large bi-fold doors off of their equipment shed, that sort of thing," he said in an interview.

Novak has lived in the area his whole life. He said he could only think of one other weather event that compared to this. About 10 years ago, a plough wind came through and flattened several barns. The damage was severe then, too.

"We certainly don't need that kind of wind again," he said. Buildings like grain bins and greenhouses really don't fare well in this type of weather, he added.

The City of Regina was busy Thursday, as well. The pedway across 11th Avenue between Cornwall Centre and the Bank of Montreal building along with the greenhouse at the Regina Floral Conservatory were damaged. As of Thursday morning, the city had gotten calls about 75 trees that were damaged or that had fallen over.

SaskTel is also still experiencing problems.

WATCH BELOW: STRONG WINDS SEND SHINGLES FLYING IN SASKATOON

"Where it is safe to do so, SaskTel will continue to connect generators to our network sites and to high priority wireless sites to ensure services continue to operate normally," a news release reads in part.

"However, we anticipate there will be more service failures as our back-up batteries lose life and fail if we are unable to connect generators."

Here's what's impacted:

  • Landline services in Beechy, Elrose, Macoun and Kyle.
  • Cellular services around Beechy, Dinsmore, Elrose and Kyle.
  • maxTV and internet services where there is no power may also be impacted.
  • There is no estimated time of repair.

This article, written by Emily Pasiuk, was originally published for CBC News.

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