The windstorm that ripped through Bradford West Gwillimbury on Friday downed trees, tore shingles off roofs, cut power to homes, and even flipped a truck pulling a camper-trailer on its side with a family of four inside.
The storm is a perfect example of why emergency preparedness is important — and it unexpectedly kicked off Emergency Preparedness Week May 6-12, said South Simcoe Police Executive Sgt. Todd Ferrier.
“You start getting crazy wind storms like that again… It’s not going to take much to have a major accident, (even) on Highway 400,” he said. “Like most other emergency services … we had just a boatload of calls.”
One person was taken to hospital as a precaution Friday after a Keswick family of two adults and two children in a truck pulling a 10-metre camper-trailer “got caught by a sudden gust of wind” and both vehicles flipped on their sides, Ferrier said.
The 5:53 p.m. incident happened on 10 Sideroad near Concession 10 in Bradford, he said.
In a separate incident, another vehicle pulling a camper-trailer also got caught in a gust of wind and was pushed into a vehicle in another lane, he said.
“The winds did wreak havoc on any large vehicles.”
At the peak of the storm, about 100,000 Alectra customers did not have power from Barrie to St. Catharines. In Bradford, 3,440 people lost power, but all were restored by Saturday morning, said Alectra spokesperson Rachel Bertone.
As of 9 a.m. Monday, 25 homes and businesses were still without power, all of which are in Mississauga, she said.
The Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library and BWG Leisure Centre opened up to anyone who lost power needing to charge phones and computers, or take a shower.
Throughout town on the weekend, branches and shingles littered the streets, and construction debris blew onto sidewalks.
Residents like Rick Walker had already begun the cleanup after wind brought down a 39-year-old blue spruce in his front yard right onto his vehicles.
In a tweet Sunday, the South Simcoe Police Service said Friday’s windstorm was a “good reminder” to stock up on 72-hour emergency kits.
As well, today at exactly 1:55 p.m., a Canadian Alerting Attention Signal — what typically plays on radio or TV in connection with Amber Alerts — will blare from cellphones and other compatible wireless devices across Ontario.
Ferrier said this new alert system will help Bradford residents stay up-to-date if another incident, such as a windstorm, causes crashes and other problems.
With files from Miriam King