Southern B.C. coast facing cleanup after massive wind storm
Published Sunday, January 21, 2018 12:02PM EST
Last Updated Monday, January 22, 2018 7:56AM EST
Much of B.C.’s south coast is cleaning up after a powerful wind storm battered much of the region, downing trees and power lines, and causing rockslides.
The storm brought winds that reached speeds of up to 80 kilometres per hour, battering much of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland as well as the eastern coast of Vancouver Island Sunday morning.
The high winds uprooted several trees, causing damage to a business in Vancouver and a home in Surrey.
In Vancouver, a worker at a food market in the city’s Chinatown was injured when a powerful gust toppled a tree that crashed into the store.
Robert Low told CTV Vancouver that one of his co-workers at the Sunrise Market was sent to hospital after suffering bruises to her arm.
In Surrey, one family is unable to return to their townhome after it was stuck by a falling tree.
Stefania Ulici, who lives in the unit with her husband and children, said she was awakened by a “big, big bang” around 7 a.m. as the tree fell.
"I was shaking, I was crying. When I first came out, I couldn't even stare at the trees. I thought they were going to come down, all of them...on me. I was just shaking. I'm traumatized,” she told CTV Vancouver.
Her husband, Corey Bljog, said the tree fall sounded like a bomb going off.
“It sounded like the whole building... it sounded like an earthquake actually,” he said.
Neighbours suggested that work being done to repair a water main may have contributed to the fall of the 40-year-old tree. City of Surrey staff recently dug a trench near the tree to replace a water main and cut several of the tree’s large roots, which may have weakened the tree.
"We have a whole family that was put in danger because of that,” said neighbor Tony Fernando, who’s a member of the local strata council.
The winds brought down several power lines, at one point leaving 65,000 customers in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island in the dark. Most of those had had their power restored by early Monday morning, according to BC Hydro.
Even after the winds had mostly died down, trees and rocks snarled roads on the mainland.
A stretch of B.C.’s Highway 1 south of Boston Bar was closed by a rockslide. Heavy equipment was brought in to remove the boulders from the highway and the road re-opened later Sunday.
Downed power lines also caused closures on Highway 24 and Highway 101 that were later cleared.
The high winds forced BC Ferries to cancel sailings from the Tsawwassen terminal for most of the day and Harbour Air Seaplanes cancelled several flights.
Eleven skiers were affected by the storm, as high winds forced the closure of chairlifts at Cypress Mountain.
With reports from CTV Vancouver’s Breanna Karstns-Smith and Ben Miljure
Thanking all of our travellers for your patience today. May the wind be at our back for tomorrow. We will return tomorrow at 7:00am to assist further. In the meantime, stay up-to-date here: https://t.co/Vne8CeUnbT ^kn— BC Ferries (@BCFerries) January 22, 2018