Storm big, but no record

  • Nov. 2, 2011 3:00 p.m.

The storm that hit the islands last Thursday (Oct. 27) knocked out power, brought down trees and delayed the ferry – but was not nearly as destructive as the storms of October 2010. Al West, co-owner of Key West Insurance in Queen Charlotte, said last week’s storm resulted in about seven claims totalling approximately $100,000, mainly for damage to roofs. The damage caused by last October’s storms, by contrast, came to over $1-million. Mr. West said October is usually the worst month for storm damage on the islands, but the entire season from October to March is a stressful one. The insurance industry around the world has been hit by rapid growth in the number of claims related to storms and hurricanes, and the islands are no exception, he said. “The only salvation on the islands is more and more people are putting on metal roofs,” he said. Deductibles will likely be getting higher for older asphalt roofs, he said. Anyone who is putting a new roof on their house should consider metal, he said. Port Clements residents had no power for about 22 hours as a result of the storm, said BC Hydro community relations coordinator Dave Mosure. The power went out around 9:15 pm Thursday night and wasn’t restored until 6:47 pm Friday. In Queen Charlotte, Skidegate and Tlell, homes went dark just after 10 pm Thursday, as the winds approached their peak speed. Power was restored at 2:45 am, but went out again for customers north of Skidegate at 5:20 am. This outage was not restored until just after 1 pm Friday. In Masset, customers lost power for about 10 hours, from 2:24 am Friday until just after noon. This outage was caused by a small fire at the substation, started when an insulator broke, Mr. Mosure said. Hydro crews worked their maximum 16 hours without a break to repair the outages, he said. They then took a WorkSafe-mandated break and went back to work. “The crews were pretty darn tired,” he said. The peak gusts recorded at the Sandspit airport were from the southeast at 113 km/hour at 11 pm Thursday, with gusts of 109 km/h at midnight. In north Hecate Strait, waves reached 7.9 metres at 1 am, according to the Environment Canada buoy. BC Ferries cancelled the Thursday afternoon sailing from Prince Rupert and the Thursday night departure from Skidegate. The ferry sailed on Friday instead, once the wind had died down.