Windstorm knocks out power in the valley

Winds reached more than 100 kilometres an hour over the weekend.

  • Jul. 25, 2012 4:00 p.m.

Home owners are still cleaning up after a massive windstorm swept through the valley Friday night.

At about 6:15 p.m. on Friday, July 20, a brief but destructive windstorm downed seemingly hundreds of trees, pulling down power lines and leaving some homes without power for days.

There are unconfirmed reports that winds reached 106 kilometres an hour.

According to Sally Masters, Community Relations for BC Hydro, at the peak of its aftermath, power was out to 20,000 properties in Cranbrook, Kimberley, Fernie, Sparwood and the surrounding areas. There were 3,000 customers affected in Fernie and 50 in Sparwood. Customers in Elkford were not affected at all.

“The severity of the storm caused considerable damage to power lines, hydro poles and other BC Hydro infrastructure,” said Masters. “The damage was widespread. Trees and other debris falling onto power lines and breaking hydro poles was the main cause for the power outages.”

Additional crews from the Okanagan and Invermere were dispatched to assist with restoration work in all of the areas, and some crews worked 16-hour days.

“Public and worker safety is our number one priority,” said Masters. “BC Hydro’s focus was to restore power to critical services first. Crews then worked to restore power to the largest amount of customers in the least amount of time, such as larger neighbourhoods and high density housing.”

By Sunday afternoon, BC Hydro was on its third day of work to restore power to 3,800 properties that were still experiencing an outage.

Many customers were unaware of how long they would be without power.

“BC Hydro tries to provide an accurate time estimation of when the power will be back on,” said Masters. “Sometimes we can bypass a problem and restore power sooner than expected. In other cases, the cause of the power outage may be difficult to locate or access so the repair may take longer than estimated.

“BC Hydro would like to thank the public for their patience and understanding.”

Masters said there were still “a handful” of customers in the Elk Valley without power Sunday night, but all had power returned by Monday morning.

Just as many properties were finally getting their power returned, a second windstorm, of less severity, swept through on Sunday night, leaving 700 customers in Fernie without power until Monday night.

“The power went out at approximately midnight and was restored at 12:15 p.m. Monday,” said Masters. “The cause of the outage was a damaged cross arm on a hydro pole.”

There are many downed power lines in the areas affected. BC Hydro would like to remind the public to keep at least 10 metres (33 feet) away from any power line or any object in contact with a power line. To report a downed power line or an object in contact with a power line, please call 1-888 POWERON  (1 888 769-3766).

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hands on avalanche training for FSS students

On Thursday, January 9 the day began with a golden sunrise and… Continue reading

Friday fatality at Fernie Alpine Resort

It’s the second person to die in a tree well at a ski resort in B.C. in the past week.

Two weekend rescues for Fernie SAR

Fernie Search and Rescue (SAR) was activated twice this past weekend to… Continue reading

To Australia from Fernie, helping those back home

With her home country going up in flames over 13,000 kilometres away,… Continue reading

Ktunaxa, supporters celebrate protection of Qat’muk and the Jumbo valley

Speeches, acknowledgements and ceremonies mark an emotional gathering in Cranbrook

VIDEO: Bobcat infiltrates Shuswap couple’s coop, feasts on fowl

Police officers credited for attempting to assist with animal’s extraction

VIDEO: B.C. mom shares ‘insane’ experience of viral dinosaur video

Tabitha Cooper filmed her costumed sons meeting their grandma at the Victoria International Airport

Vancouver Island home to one of Canada’s largest private skateboard collections

Eric Pinto owns hundreds of boards, spanning multiple decades

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

‘It was just so fast’: B.C. teen recalls 150-metre fall down Oregon mountain

Surrey’s Gurbaz Singh broke his leg on Mount Hood on Dec. 30

B.C. woman crowned the fastest female marathon runner in Canadian history

Malindi Elmore ran an incredible 2:24:50 at the Houston Marathon

Alberta bulldog breeder ordered to refund B.C. buyer over puppy’s behaviour

Tribunal ruled a verbal agreement to send a new dog superseded the written contract

Man dies in backcountry near Nelson’s Whitewater Ski Resort

The victim was found unresponsive in a tree well Friday

Most Read