Spring wind storm knocks down trees and leaves tens of thousands in the dark
VANCOUVER -- A powerful wind storm on the weekend left tens of thousands of Metro Vancouver residents in the dark as trees and power lines crashed to the ground.
In some cases, trees crashed right into homes during the Sunday storm.
In Surrey, a large tree fell onto a residential building at Regency Manor on 105A Avenue. Building Manager and caretaker Joshua Longinos said it happened around 3:30 p.m.
“It was definitely something that we didn’t expect,” he said, and added no one was home in the top floor unit at the time, and no one was hurt. “It actually came a couple centimetres off the balcony door, so it was very close.”
Winds of 70 to 90 kilometres per hour had were expected and led to an Environment Canada weather warning.
Powerful gusts brought down a large tree on East 20th Avenue in Vancouver. Resident Paul Lambert said the fallen tree initially blocked the street.
“I hear this giant crash ... and next thing you know my girlfriend’s just screaming ‘our tree has fallen down’,” he said. “We’re very thankful that nobody was injured.”
A video of the storm in downtown Vancouver, shared on social media, showed debris sailing down the street from a construction site. On the Granville Street Bridge, there was another unexpected obstruction when a porta potty appeared in the traffic lane next to ongoing road work.
The storm also brought down power lines, keeping hydro crews and emergency responders busy. BC Hydro said 180,000 customers were impacted by the wind, including on the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island.
Surrey Fire’s assistant chief of operations Steve Serbic said all 22 of their trucks were out on calls, most of which came in over a four hour stretch starting in the late afternoon.
“It got dark, followed by a hail storm, followed by high winds, and they didn't stop for three to four hours,” he said, and added they had prepared for the storm by bringing in extra dispatchers to help triage all the calls, most of which were to report wires down and trees down.
“There was a lot of damage, but there weren’t a lot of injuries associated with those trees and wires coming down.”
As of Monday morning, BC Hydro said more than 174,000 customers had power restored.
Here are a few of the maximum wind gusts recorded by Environment Canada on Sunday:
Point Atkinson: 97 km per hour
Tsawassen Ferry Terminal: 89 km per hour
YVR: 87 km per hour
Abbotsford Airport: 70 km per hour