Big storms lash islands, another expected Wednesday evening

  • Oct. 13, 2010 2:00 p.m.

Following the big storms of last weekend, another is set to hit the islands Wednesday evening.At 1:00 pm Wednesday, Environment Canada issued the following forecast, calling for winds up to 100 km/h overnight:Wind warning in effect.TodayRain. Amount 15 mm. Wind southeast 40 to 60 km/h increasing to 60 to 80 this afternoon. High 12.TonightRain. Amount 5 to 10 mm. Wind southeast 80 to 100 km/h becoming southwest 50 to 70 after midnight. Low 8.Check the updated forecast with the following link’www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/city/pages/bc-88_metric_e.htmlHurricane-force winds, sheets of lightning, high tides, and heavy rain lashed the islands over the weekend, with back-to-back storms hitting on Friday and Saturday nights. “It’s been a long time since we had them two nights in a row,” said O’Brien Road and Bridge Maintenance operations manager Dennis Reindl, who had crews out all night long both Friday and Saturday. “It was actually about as bad as it could be.” Friday’s southeast storm started in the late afternoon and knocked out power in most of the islands communities. By Saturday afternoon, BC Hydro crews had restored almost all the power. But by just after midnight Sunday (Oct. 10), the islands were being raked by an unusual and powerful west wind that toppled more trees and electrical lines. Mr. Reindl said his crews cleaned up about 40 trees that came down across the highway in the Sunday morning storm. The crew set out at 2 am, working their way north and south, but couldn’t clear trees until the wind died down enough to make it safe. As of Tuesday, Mr. Reindl said, workers were still cleaning up. “We haven’t had a real strong west wind for some time, that’s why all the trees came down,” Mr. Reindl said. “It changes the perspective of what it’s going to do to the highway.” The power went out just after midnight Sunday all over the islands. This storm affected the entire northwestern area of the province, with BC Hydro tallying more than 400 outages affecting more than 50,000 households. Power was restored to most throughout the day Sunday, although a few customers on the islands were still without power as of Tuesday. Besides clearing trees throughout the night, O’Briens was also kept busy keeping the highway clear of rocks and logs washed up by Friday and Saturday’s extremely high tides. The intersection of Highway 16 at Wiggins Road in Tlell is particularly vulnerable to debris wash-up, which Mr. Reindl calls “burping”. The highway is blocked by debris here at almost every high tide that’s accompanied by wind, he said.Copyright Haida Gwaii Observer 2010

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