Thursday, January 28, 2016

Semi rollover on Highway 3 at Cowley during violent wind storm (updated)

(C. Davis photos)
Christian Davis/Toni Lucas

Pincher Creek Emergency Services (PCES) responded to a single vehicle incident just after 1:00 pm Thursday, January 28.  A tractor trailer rolled onto its side, completely blocking Highway 3 just east of Cowley.  High winds were a definite factor in the incident, according to PCES Deputy Fire Chief Pat Neumann.  The driver was assessed and released on scene. RCMP, Volker Stevin, PCES, and Cowley Fire worked together on scene and traffic was detoured around the area using a service road until the scene was cleared. PCES sent an ambulance and a command truck.

Cowley Fire directing traffic in gale force winds
Deputy Chief Neumann said he heard from Shell Waterton that they recorded wind gusts of 153 km/hour today. The Shell Waterton plant is south of Pincher Creek but relatively not far from the scene of the incident.  Winds in Cowley were very high at the time of the incident.  

According to the Beaufort wind force scale, today's winds qualified as a Violent Storm or Hurricane Force event, the second and first most extreme categories of the scale respectively.  We arguably have no word for a day windier than today was.

A wind warning issued by Environment Canada for the area on January 26* officially ended as this was being updated.

Winds in Pincher Creek are currently gusting to west by southwest at 35 km/hr, gusting to 46 km/hr, according to Environment Canada. That's compared to 111 km/hr reported earlier in the day. This eyewitness can safely attest that the wind has diminished significantly in Cowley as well. Winds are expected to keep diminishing over the next few days.

Around here, warm winter weather tends to come with high winds. * Click here for a more accurate Environment Canada record of the weather than was available at the time this article was originally published.

(PCES photo)

*corrected for accuracy

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