Eston, Sask. storm tears through buildings, leaves people without power

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A powerful windstorm has torn apart structures and left people without electricity in the west-central Saskatchewan town of Eston.

The destructive storm struck around 7:45 p.m. CT on July 14, forcing the town to set up an emergency operations centre at a local church for a “small number” of evacuees.


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Around 9:30 p.m. Sunday, the town said residents of 8th Avenue “should stay inside their home to protect themselves from flying debris.”

Lilliane Hill was walking her dog when the storm struck.

“All of a sudden, I looked up and I could see the clouds forming and they were coming from two different directions and swirling. So we took off running as fast as we could,” Hill said on Monday.

She was forced to take shelter where she could find it—underneath a solar panel and then between two cars.

The strong wind and hail destroyed one house and several other buildings were severely damaged, including Max Cumksiey’s hangar.

He was not in his hometown when the storm struck but hurried back when he received a text from his dad.

“He said it was totally blown away,” Cumksiey said on Monday.

“And I went out and–it was an [18 by 12 metre] shed and it was totally leaning against the neighbour’s shack.”

No one was injured in the storm, despite the destruction.

“We are grateful to share that there were no fatalities or serious injuries to report,” the Town of Eston said in a statement posted to social media on Monday.

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The source of the carnage appears to be a plough wind, rather than a tornado, according to Duane McKay, vice-president of the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency.

One person was trapped inside a collapsed building before the local fire department came to the rescue.

Since the storm ended, local firefighters and crews from SaskPower and SaskEnergy have been working to clear the debris and restore power.

People have also been working to clear the debris and to check on their neighbours.

Efforts have been hindered by a lack of power but Cumksiey said the town won’t rest until everyone is supported.

“They’re all coming together. This town’s always been good for that. Stuff happens, people come together, we rebuild and [will] be fine,” he said.

Eston Mayor Al Herron said he had been receiving offers of help from communities across the province.

“You don’t need to ask them to stand up—they’re there waiting [and asking] ‘what can I do next?’” he said.

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Another representative from the town told Global News that they expect power to be returned by Tuesday morning.

“The town wants to thank the surrounding communities for their outpouring of support,” the municipality said in a statement. Officials asked those who don’t need to be in Eston to stay away.

Residents who need help should call 306-838-3271 or go to the town office on Main Street.

Eston is about 210 kilometres southwest of Saskatoon.

For the latest conditions and warnings, download the SkyTracker weather app.

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