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After several storms, Haida Gwaii looks set for Christmas calm

The coast is finally clear and the ferries underway.
The Dec. 15 storm toppled a big spruce by the Yakoun River Inn. (Archie Stocker Sr./Haida Gwaii Observer)

The coast is finally clear and the ferries underway.

After a major storm hit Haida Gwaii on Saturday, Dec. 15 — the storm winds gusted up to 127 km/h by Sandspit Airport and a hair-raising 161 km/h on Cumshewa — another, shorter-lived storm followed on Monday night, again blowing over 120 km/h, toppling more trees and causing several power outages.

Road maintenance and BC Hydro crews worked overtime to clear the highway and sidestreets of downed trees, and to restore power. Following the Saturday storm, homes in Queen Charlotte, Skidegate, and Tow Hill went over 12 hours without electricity, while Port Clements and Tlell were out for 33.

The Spirit Lake Trail in Skidegate and the Sunset Park Trail in Port Clements are both temporarily closed due to downed trees.

After several delays, BC Ferries has mostly fairweather forecast all this week for the next sailings between Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert.

The Northern Expedition is now set to leave Prince Rupert at 2 p.m. Wednesday, arriving in Skidegate Landing at 8 p.m. The ferry will then leave Skidegate Landing at midnight Wednesday, arriving in Prince Rupert at 6 a.m.

On Thursday, the Northern Expedition will then resume its usual schedule, meaning it will once again leave Prince Rupert for Haida Gwaii at 10 a.m.

Archie Stocker Sr. drove between Old Massett and Skidegate during Saturday’s rampaging storm, and counted at least 31 downed trees in the power lines.

“Only once before in my 57 years on Haida Gwaii have I witnessed such carnage,” said Stocker Sr.

On the water, the Saturday storm blew one of Taan Forest’s log booms loose at Alliford Bay, sending several bundles floating across Skidegate Inlet. The storm churned up eight-metre seas in Hecate Strait and 12-metre seas west of Moresby Island.

Besides buoys, wind meters, and the roof of a pick-up truck parked by the Yakoun River Inn, the storm registered on earthquake seismographs at Natural Resources Canada. While seismographs are actually quite sensitive and the storm’s tree-shaking winds and shore-smashing waves didn’t come close to even a 1.0 quake, the data showed how long-lasting it was.

Despite all the disruption, the Skidegate Inlet Lions Club managed to get a line out to Santa Claus, who agreed to reschedule his breakfast at the Queen Charlotte Community Hall. Breakfast with Santa will now start at 9 a.m. this Sunday.

Dyson Street got blocked by downed trees in Port Clements during the Dec. 15 storm, where people went 33 hours without power. (Archie Stocker Sr./Haida Gwaii Observer)
Dozens of trees took out power lines all over the islands. (Archie Stocker Sr./Haida Gwaii Observer)
(Archie Stocker Sr.)