Update, 10:20 a.m. Wednesday: Roads have reopened around the Husky Building as crews were able tosafely remove a metal-framed canvas that had been hanging off thedowntown Husky Building since Tuesday afternoon. The area has been deemed safe for both pedestrian and vehiculartraffic and 8th Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets S.W., and 6thStreet between 7th and 9th Avenues S.W. have reopened. |
High gusts of winds reaching up to 80 km/h were to blame for thedangling piece, as well as for falling debris that smashed thewindshield of one vehicle and damaged the body of another. Update, 6:15 a.m. Wednesday: The Calgary fire department advises motorists that road closures inthe downtown core will remain in effect Wednesday morning in thewake of Tuesday s high wind hazards. Eighth Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets S.W., and 6th Streetbetween 7th and 9th Avenues S.W. will be closed to both vehicularand pedestrian traffic for this morning's commute, the departmentsaid in a news release.
The fire department s high angle team hopes to begin working toremove the debris causing the safety hazard starting at around 10a.m. Wednesday. A cold front barrelling east from B.C. whipped up winds and sentdebris cascading from downtown buildings Tuesday, promptingofficials to close several streets.
Wind gusts of up to 80 km/h dislodged pieces of metal on downtownrooftops, causing debris to rain down on the street, smashing thewindshield of one vehicle and damaging the body of another. About 2 p.m., the fire department's high-angle team was sent up theface of the 40-storey Husky Energy building to assess damage to the building's sign. High above the street, wind speeds gusted above 90 km/h and, by 5p.m., crews had to halt their work for the sake of their members'safety. "The higher you go up, the higher the wind velocity is and forour crews to go up the side of the building, working off ropes isvery dangerous. It would blow them around like puppets on astring," said battalion chief Ernie Molineaux.
Unable to secure the loose material, the decision was made to closeseveral roads to motorists and pedestrians Tuesday evening. Crewsclosed 8th Avenue between 6th and 7th streets S.W., and 6th Streetbetween 9th and 7th avenues S.W. The area will remain closed until the material can be secured,which officials say won't be done until after this morning'scommute. "Until the conditions settle down so that our crews canoperate safely on ropes, we're just going to keep the areasecured," Molineaux said late Tuesday.
Winds also caused damage beyond the downtown, felling a tree on14th Street S.W. and lifting roof materials from a University of Calgary campus building, prompting officials to warn students to avoidstrolling near the kinesiology building. This is the second severe wind storm to have caused damage downtownin recent months. In November, a weekend wind storm brought gusts clocked as high as140 km/h atop some of the city's highest towers and sent glassfragments and debris cascading down to the street.
The storm shut down inner-city LRT routes and caused millions ofdollars in damage. The cold front that kicked up winds across southwestern Alberta onTuesday had Environment Canada meteorologists mulling whether to issue a wind warning for most ofthe day. Meteorologist Heather Rombough said conditions were ideal for thekind of down drafts that can cause damage to downtown buildings. "This is a vigorous low pressure system that is passingthrough Alberta," she said. "Generally along a cold front you'll see these gusty winds andusually some precipitation, snow or showers." Do you know more about this, or any other story or topic? Be a Source for the Herald.
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