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Winds batter town; transformer problem shuts off Fort Macleod power

collapsed steel bin

Emergency crews blocked streets to keep people from the danger of a collapsed steel bin.

duststorm reduced visibility

The wind stirred up the dust on farmers’ fields north of Fort Macleod, severely reducing visibility.

roadblock due to collapsed steel bin

Emergency crews blocked streets to keep people from the danger of a collapsed steel bin

Fort Macleod was battered Saturday by winds gusting over 100 km-h.
The wind collapsed a steel bin at Macleod Feed Mill, creating a hazard that forced police to evacuate nearby residents and block off streets.
Emergency crews rolled about 5 p.m. Saturday after the steel bin collapsed and its roof became lodged on top of another bin.
As the large steel roof fluttered in the wind, police went door-to-door instructing people to evacuate the area.
Fort Macleod residents were without power for about 21 hours Saturday and Sunday as AltaLink crews repaired a transformer at the electrical substation in town.
Businesses were forced to shut down about 7 p.m. Saturday and residents relied on flashlights, candles and lanterns overnight.
“The cause is still under investigation,” said Scott Schreiner, director of external engagement for AltaLink.
Fort Macleod was being hammered by strong winds when the power out, but Schreiner said it is not yet clear if that caused the problem.
Schreiner explained that AltaLink received an alarm at its 24-hour control centre about 7 p.m. Saturday.
Crews dispatched to investigate the alarm found a problem with a transformer that feeds Fort Macleod.
“Because the nature of the problem would require significant downtime for the substation, we began the process to transfer our mobile substation from Calgary to Fort Macleod to attempt to get the power restored as soon as possible,” Schreiner explained.
The mobile substation is a semi trailer that has the equipment of a traditional substation and can be used during maintenance or times of emergency to temporarily supply power to a community.
AltaLink began installing the mobile substation about 5:30 a.m. on Sunday.
Installation and energization of the substation at 3:40 p.m. Sunday.
“We will now proceed to repair the transformer on site before bringing it back into service,” Schreiner noted. “There will be no interruption of power when we transfer the supply from the mobile substation back to the existing substation.”
Schreiner said AltaLink appreciates the inconvenience created by the power outage.
We want to thank the residents of Fort Macleod for their patience and understanding as we worked to restore the power as quickly as possible,” Schreiner added.