Season’s second big storm lashes islands

  • Nov. 15, 2004 5:00 p.m.

A fierce windstorm Saturday night (Nov. 13) knocked out power to every community on the islands and closed portions of the main highway for about 12 hours.
BC Hydro’s Charmane Edwards said power was out everywhere by midnight, as trees, branches and debris hit lines. It was restored to Sandspit and the south part of Graham Island by Sunday morning, but Port Clements was without power until Monday afternoon, and parts of Masset were still without power on Monday evening.
BC Hydro flew a crew up from Vancouver Island on Sunday morning, Ms Edwards said, to help out exhausted local workers, who had worked all night.
“It was quite a significant storm,” she said, adding that Hydro received estimates that the wind speed reached 140 kilometres an hour.
O’Brien Road and Bridge Maintenance Ltd. operations manager Dennis Reindl said he dispatched a crew Saturday night as the storm started. By 10:30 or 11 pm there were trees on the road, and they closed the highway. It didn’t open again until about noon Sunday, he said, although some portions were cleared and open to traffic earlier.
Mr. Reindl himself spent the night near Davies Road in Tlell, after he got trapped on a small section of highway between fallen trees.
About 30 trees came down along the highway, he said, while a storm in early October knocked down about 40. The first big storm of the season tends to blow down the most trees, he said.
The windstorm occurred right between some of the highest tides of the year – 24 feet at 1:30 pm Saturday and 23.6 feet at 2 pm Sunday. Mr. Reindl said the tides were a concern for the highways crew, but luckily, the overnight high tide, when the wind was at its peak, was only 20.6 feet.
“It burped over a little bit at Dress for Les,” he said. “There was some slight debris.”
The Sunday afternoon high tide did deposit some rocks on the highway just south of Wiggins Road in Tlell, but these were quickly cleared, he said.
“When there’s a high tide, we expect to see some debris on the road,” he said, adding that drivers need to be aware that the road could be obstructed during high tides or storms.
Several islanders, like Masset resident Marg Youngson, said the strong winds rattled their homes and made it difficult to sleep.
“After being here for 30 years, I have never felt or heard the wind like that,” Ms Youngson said. “It was scary.”
Five Masset firefighters were called out at 1 am Sunday after a power pole caught fire between Alder and Balsam crescents, said fire chief Trevor Jarvis. The volunteers watched as the pole fire burned itself out, Mr. Jarvis said, because they don’t fight these types of fires unless Hydro can assure them there is no electricity flowing to the pole.
In Port Clements, where the power failure continued to Monday, school was closed for the day.
The weather station in Sandspit recorded a top wind speed of 63 knots during the storm, said station manager Bente Sutherland, or 116 kilometres an hour. That might seem high, but it’s not a record, she said.

Just Posted

Logging protest at Collison Point

Husby crews lock up gear after group led by Old Massett Haida calls for end of logging at Collison

Cullen calls on DFO for quick notice of any salmon closures

MP urges co-operation after DFO releases grim estimates for sockeye, chinook returns

B.C. to protect more habitat for coastal northern goshawk, marbled murrelet

Few new goshawk nests expected on Haida Gwaii, where deer, low numbers are of high concern

Hundreds more Haida Gwaii homes to get high-speed internet

Gwaii Communications wins $4.9-million grant from Canada, B.C., Gwaii Trust to expand local services

On the Wing: Stormy weather in the wild

By Margo Hearne Things have calmed down after the big full-moon tides.… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Airline passenger-rights bill claws back protections for travellers: Advocate

Bill C-49 would double tarmac delays, scrap compensation for flights affected by mechanical failures

Canadian research vessel to explore 19th Century shipwrecks

Commissioned this week in Victoria, the RV David Thompson is Parks Canada’s newest vessel

VIDEO: ‘New wave’ of anti-pipeline protests return to Trans Mountain facility

About 100 demonstrators with Protect the Inlet marched to the Burnaby terminal Saturday

B.C. man to plead guilty in connection with hit-and-run that killed teen

Jason Gourlay charged with failure to stop at the scene of accident, attempting to obstruct justice

Most Read