LETHBRIDGE, AB – Powerful chinook winds took their toll across southern Alberta Wednesday (Jan. 13) flipping semis, downing trees, and cutting power to thousands of people.

What’s referred to as an Alberta clipper system blew the region with extreme gusts recorded.

The strongest wind was just east of Lethbridge with an Environment Canada weather station at Barnwell clocking a gust at 137 km/h. That is hurricane force wind. In fact someone’s personal weather station at their home in Taber reported a gust at 145 km/h.

At the Lethbridge Airport, the wind topped out at 120 km/h.

Power was knocked out to several areas of the city as well as for people living in rural communities in the area too. It took crews about two or three hours to get the lights back on. That even forced some school divisions to send kids home early.

Environment Canada had issued wind warnings for all of southern Alberta with the potential for dangerous gusts. Some of the wind gusts on Wednesday were also record-setting by January standards.

The strong weather system moved into Saskatchewan and Manitoba causing strong wind, freezing rain, and blizzard conditions for those provinces.

The following are peak wind gusts Wednesday in km/h from Environment Canada:

  • Barnwell – 137 (all time January record)
  • Onefour – 122 (all time January record)
  • Grassy Lake – 122
  • Lethbridge – 120
  • Iron Springs – 120
  • Blood Tribe – 119 (all time January record)
  • Fincastle – 115 (all time January record)
  • Irvine – 115
  • Bow Island – 113 (ties all time January record)
  • Milk River – 111 (all time January record)
  • Waterton – 111
  • Medicine Hat – 109
  • Wrentham – 109
  • Seven Persons – 109
  • Stavely – 107
  • Claresholm – 104
  • Travers – 104
  • Pincher Creek – 102
  • Brocket – 102
  • Foremost – 102
  • Carway – 102
  • Enchant – 100