A thunderstorm with strong winds ripped through the East Kootenay on Wednesday, July 23, downing trees and power lines, and damaging property at Eaglesnest RV Resort in Moyie.
The storm, which caused flash flooding in Kamloops (see more on Page 4), hit Cranbrook and Kimberley at around 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
“As a result of the storm that hit the East Kootenay (Wednesday) night, approximately 3,800 customers in Moyie, Kingsgate, Yahk, Mayook, Jaffray, Baynes Lake, Fernie and Sparwood and surrounding areas were without power,” said Sally Masters, BC Hydro community relations representative. “The majority of customers affected were in Sparwood.
“The storm caused considerable and widespread damage to power lines, poles and other BC Hydro infrastructure. Trees and other debris falling onto power lines and broken hydro poles were the main cause for the power outages.”
The weather station at Canadian Rockies International Airport recorded wind gusts of 46 kilometres an hour, but Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist said the wind could have been up to 60 kilometres an hour elsewhere in the area.
By comparison, the July 2012 wind storm that hit Cranbrook contained wind gusts of 107 kilometres an hour.
In Moyie, as many as 20 trailers at Eaglesnest RV Resort were damaged by falling trees, said the resort’s office manager Ann Wood.
“We did have extensive damage out here,” she said. “Thankfully it wasn’t the long weekend when there is more people here. There were no injuries.”
Trees fell on trailer roofs and on one vehicle.
“There was people in the trailers but no one got hurt. The trees were on top of the roof or in the side of them.
“The trees were just swirling; it sounded like a freight train coming through.”
The resort had done some remediation work since the July 2012 storm that potentially saved a lot of property damage, Wood said.
“We had done a lot of tree clearing out here, so in the area where they did that there was no damage whatsoever.”
Meanwhile, BC Hydro was busy Wednesday night and Thursday restoring power to affected customers.
“Crews were immediately dispatched and worked throughout the night.
“Additional BC Hydro and contractor crews from the Okanagan, Invermere and Cranbrook were called in to assist with restoration work.
“Crews are working 16-hour days to safely restore power as quickly as possible,” said Masters.
Very few customers in Cranbrook experienced an outage as a result of the storm, and there were no outages in Kimberley.
On Thursday, outages continued for people in Sparwood and Moyie. BC Hydro worked to restore power to critical services first, then to larger neighbourhoods and high density areas, and finally to smaller pockets and wider spread customers.
BC Hydro expected that power would be restored throughout the region by 6 p.m. Thursday evening.
“BC Hydro would like to thank the public for their patience and understanding while crews continue to work safely to restore power,” said Masters.
Report outages and downed lines to BC Hydro at 1-888-POWERON (1-888-769-3766).