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).

 

Just Posted

GALLERY: Highlights from the 2018 Fernie Fall Fair

Local cooks and bakers show off their culinary skills; fibre artist spins a yarn

GALLERY: 2018 Fernie Chautauqua hailed best yet

About 8000 people embraced the century-old tradition in Fernie last week

Sparwood Skatepark officially opened

Locals call new skatepark a ‘priceless addition’ to Sparwood

U.S. Court upholds Teck ruling

Teck appealed a previous decision that the company must pay $8.25 million in the Tribes’ court costs

Ghostriders welcomed home

Fernie Ghostriders win 5-3 in front of a sold out crowd during home opener

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

UBCM Convention inspires City of Fernie

Cannabis legalization, policing and green innovation among topics discussed at UBCM Convention

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Most Read