Storm causes wine festival evacuation, power outages, downed trees

 

A large tree branch fell alongside General Amherst High School during the Sept. 5 storm.

A large tree branch fell alongside General Amherst High School during the Sept. 5 storm.

A partially collapsed tent sits inside of Fort Malden after the storm that ripped through town. The grounds were completely closed after they were evacuated Sept. 5.

A partially collapsed tent sits inside of Fort Malden after the storm that ripped through town. The grounds were completely closed after they were evacuated Sept. 5.

A downed tree branch sits   at the corner of St. Arnaud St. and Balaclava St. N.

A downed tree branch sits at the corner of St. Arnaud St. and Balaclava St. N.

Tree limbs were downed along Sandwich St. N. after the Sept. 5 storm rumbled through the area.

Tree limbs were downed along Sandwich St. N. after the Sept. 5 storm rumbled through the area.

An ATM machine lays flat on the ground Sept. 6 after a violent thunderstorm ripped through town the previous night. The Shores of Erie International Wine Festival was evacuated but organizers plan to reopen the grounds at 2 p.m. Saturday.

An ATM machine lays flat on the ground Sept. 6 after a violent thunderstorm ripped through town the previous night. The Shores of Erie International Wine Festival was evacuated but organizers plan to reopen the grounds at 2 p.m. Saturday.

A destroyed tent sits in the foreground as volunteers work to clean up Fort Malden National Historic Site. The Shores of Erie International Wine Festival had to be evacuated Friday night due to the violent thunderstorm.

A destroyed tent sits in the foreground as volunteers work to clean up Fort Malden National Historic Site. The Shores of Erie International Wine Festival had to be evacuated Friday night due to the violent thunderstorm.

By Ron Giofu

 

A violent thunderstorm that ripped through Amherstburg Friday night did damage with cleanup efforts continuing Saturday morning.

The Shores of Erie International Wine Festival was shut down early with the grounds of Fort Malden National Historic Site being evacuated. Festival chair Karen Gyorgy stated three people were transported via ambulance to hospital with two of the injuries being directly related to the storm.

Gyorgy said Saturday morning they intend to re-open the festival, albeit a delayed start, at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The Shores of Erie International Wine Festival committee had an evacuation plan in place, Gyorgy stated, and met at 4 p.m. Friday to discuss it with the knowledge storms were forecasted. Organizers state it was “a very orderly” evacuation in light of the chaotic weather conditions. The gymnasium at General Amherst High School was opened as part of the evacuation.

Festival director Kelly O’Rourke said she went on stage Friday evening after monitoring radar and announced the evacuation, though noted the Amherstburg Fire Department also came to the grounds to have people evacuate.

The fire department also sounded the emergency sirens due to the storm.

One tent was completely destroyed, said Gyorgy, with two others being reparable. Electrical wires were down in the grounds causing security and Amherstburg police to completely close Fort Malden and not allow anyone to enter Friday night. The ground re-opened to volunteers early Saturday morning with Gyorgy stating work began at 6:30 a.m.

“We have a huge outpouring of volunteers to help us,” she said Saturday, around 9:30 a.m.

Trees were down in numerous parts of Amherstburg due to the high winds and heavy rain that blasted the area. Hydro was also out for several hours in various parts of the town.

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