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Strong winds wreak havoc in Helena

Large pine at the Helena Civic Center uprooted
Posted at 8:31 AM, Jan 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-14 10:31:11-05

HELENA — Strong wind wreaked havoc in the Helena Valley on Wednesday, knocking out power, damaging homes and uprooting landmarks.

Power Lines were damaged and knocked down throughout the day, taking out power in the area for thousands and causing issues with traffic lights in downtown Helena and by Fort Harrison.

In East Helena a family no longer has a roof to their home as wind gusts tore off the material down to the sub roof and scattering material across Lane Avenue.

Wind blows off roof in East Helena

At around 11:00 a.m. the renter of the home was taking a shower and heard the sound of the roof coming off. He initially thought the family dog may have knocked over the TV or other furniture.

He soon discovered a terrified dog and debris from the roof scattered across the nearby area.

The renter took it upon himself to clean up what he could and says while the situation “sucks” the only thing they can do is move on and is just glad no one was injured.

Branch narrowly misses car falling from strong winds

Some of the notable tree damage included the large pine tree used for “Light a Life” at the Helena Civic Center. The 100 year old tree was uprooted and damaged a light pole when coming down.

Staff on hand said the tree coming down gave them a bit of fright and are thankful it came down with minimal damage rather than had it fallen into the building or the street. The other large pine by the Fire Engine Bay will also need to come down now with staff saying it could cripple emergency response if it were to fall.

The City of Helena asks that people stay away from any debris and call 406-447-8426 or email cdaly@helenamt.gov to report the damage.The city will only collect public trees and limbs and branches of fallen trees should be taken to the transfer station and not put into dumpsters or trash cans.