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EMERGENCY PLANNING HELPS CITY RESPOND TO WIND EVENT

For immediate release: February 1, 2015 - 4:53pm
FR14-101

As Environment Canada forecasts, Saskatoon and area could face extreme gusts and sustained winds into this evening.  Environment Canada also forecasts falling temperatures, which may affect road conditions.

The City anticipated, and was prepared for, a number of service disruptions or operational challenges.

As a result, the City issued an Emergency Level 1 Alert; this opens up an information- sharing process across civic departments and divisions.  The following is a summary of service disruptions throughout the day, and the action that the City took to address them. 

OVERALL CITY OPERATIONS: JANUARY 15, 2014

Saskatoon Light & Power: promptly responded to all reported power outages and Service Alerts were issued in approximately 30 minute intervals
Public Works: operating normally
Transit: operating normally
Fire Department: responding to numerous calls regarding safety concerns

The City continues to be in contact with other external agencies which have not requested support at this point.

Saskatoon Light & Power (SL&P)

SL&P is able to keep up with outages and is not anticipating any long-term outages at this time.  Crews are able to respond, determine the cause and make repairs as necessary.  The wind creates challenges to crew safety, which is of utmost importance.  As a result, some repairs may have to wait until the wind speed diminishes significantly.  The bucket trucks are only certified up to 30 kilometres per hour (km/h).

Transit Division

If high winds persist into late afternoon, there may be traffic issues on all roads leading to Credit Union Centre (CUC) due to the sold-out Pink concert. There were some delays earlier in the day due to traffic signal loss of power, but service has been restored.  

Public Works Division

Snow & Ice

As Environment Canada forecasts a falling temperature and in light of today’s warm and slushy conditions, Public Works has the following operational plan in place:

Ten tandem sanders and four one-ton sanders are available to address deteriorating road conditions should the City experience freezing rain and/or snow.

If wind is the only weather issue, sanders will still be utilized to address the road conditions.  Wind can ‘polish’ the roadways to an icy surface.

The City has sufficient sand and salt supplies to address the conditions.

Area contractors (grader crews) and developing neighbourhood contractor loaders have been alerted to be prepared to mobilize, should the City experience snowfall or significant drifting conditions.

Additional staff will be available on Thursday, January 16 to augment crews with pre-scheduled load-out locations. They can also be utilized for addressing any resulting snow/freezing rain/drifting conditions.

The regular crew shift is on tonight and will be re-deployed as required to address potential storm conditions.  Again, if needed, Public Works will call in additional staff.

Saskatoon Landfill

The Landfill closed at 1:30 p.m. to the general public due to high winds and the associated safety concerns.

Unless safety becomes an issue, City garbage trucks and other commercial haulers will still be allowed on site but the blue transfer bins will not be accessible.

Recycling and Garbage Collections

By nature of what is in the recycling carts, they tend to be light-weight and the heavy winds are blowing many of them over.  However, Loraas Recycling continues collection as scheduled today.  Operators will turn carts upright for collection and pick-up as much material on the ground as possible in these windy conditions.  

Garbage collection continued as scheduled today in Eastview, Hampton Village, Stonebridge, Westview and Wildwood.  The heavy wind is blowing some of these carts over as well, and operators are turning them upright where possible in order to collect them, but may not be able to manage all of them in this weather.  If your garbage is not collected today as scheduled, garbage collection will resume tomorrow, Thursday, January 16.  Residents are asked to bring carts in and out of the wind, and place them out again by 7:00 a.m. for collection tomorrow. 

Residents are encouraged to be a good neighbour and pick up overturned carts and loose material on the ground where possible. 

Parks Division

A number of calls were received and at last word, Parks crews have confirmed seven City trees have been downed in the wind.  As a result, two pruning crews have been pulled off scheduled work and are exclusively responding to wind-related tree damage.

Tree damage assessment teams are out in the field responding to the calls and prioritizing responses and service by assessing level of hazard.

Phone systems have been modified in attempt to handle increased phone enquiries. We have confirmed that two external contractors are able to help out if deemed necessary.

Transportation Division

All traffic signals are now operational with power restored.

The only outstanding item is a traffic signal pole down at Central Avenue and Attridge Drive.  This will be replaced once the wind speeds are reduced below 30 km/h (the bucket trucks are only safety certified for up to 30 km/h).

Information for Residents and Visitors

The City would again like to remind residents to keep safety a priority during extreme weather events such as this one.  In an emergency, residents are to phone 911 for immediate assistance.

Should a power outage affect traffic lights, please remember to treat intersections as a four-way stop, pull over and call 306-975-2981 to report the outage. 

Residents are also reminded to avoid all downed power lines, and call 306-975-2621 to report a live wire emergency. 

If City-owned trees are damaged and residents are concerned they may be a safety hazard, please phone the Parks division at 306-975-2890 which will be open until 6:00 p.m. today.  After 6:00 p.m., January 15, 2014 you can call the 24-hour Public Works hotline at 306-975-2476.

For more City of Saskatoon Public Service Announcements, News Releases, Traffic Detours and Service Alerts, visit www.saskatoon.ca or connect with the City of Saskatoon on Twitter and Facebook.