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High winds wreak havoc across city

The strong winds knocked out power across the city and snapped hydro poles, including this one on Thornton Road. (Photo by Colin Williamson)

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

It wasn’t the smoothest beginning to the weekend.

Wind gusts of more than 100 km/h caused havoc throughout Oshawa and the entire region during the early-evening of Friday, May 4.

Power lines were snapped, trees uprooted, and rush hour traffic brought to a creeping lurch by malfunctioning and damaged traffic signals.

According to a media release, the Oshawa Public Utilities Corporation (OPUC) began to receive calls of power outages at around 5:40 p.m.

At one point, more than 20,000 customers were without power before most service interruptions were rectified by 2:25 a.m.

In all more than 23,000 customers experienced blackouts at some point on Friday evening.

Local emergency services were busy as well.

Dave Selby, director of communications for Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS), said 1,132 911 calls were received throughout the evening, plus many others through the non-emergency line.

“We were obviously incredibly busy,” Selby told The Oshawa Express.

At one point, there were 42 DRPS units handling traffic control across the region.

No injuries were reported as a result of the hectic weather conditions.

Local firefighters were also called into action, as downed wires set fire to several campers at the Owasco RV Centre storage facility on Champlain Avenue near Thornton Road South.

Thornton Road South is set to remain closed until Friday, May 11 between Champlain and Gibb Street as OPUC makes final repairs to utilities damaged during the May 4 storm.