Snow and ice bring down trees, cut power in Chilliwack

Several homes in Chilliwack were left without electricity on Sunday and Monday as heavy, ice-laden branches brought down power lines.

Dick Van der Knyff uses a chainsaw to cut branches away from power lines leading to his house on Camp River Road Monday morning. The power to his house went off around 11 p.m. Sunday. That night several large branches broke off from a number of trees on his property

It could take several more days for city crews and Chilliwack residents to clear debris left by Sunday’s snow and ice storm.

The first major winter event of the year brought down branches and, in some cases, whole trees in parts of the city.

Power was knocked out to more than 3,000 costumers in the region, BC Hydro reported. The most severally affected area was north of the Fraser River, where people in Agassiz, Harrison and Seabird Island were in the dark for much of Monday morning.

In Chilliwack, the western part of the city – particularly near Old Orchard Road – was affected.

By Tuesday, power had been restored to most areas. However, there were still a few isolated pockets (18 customers in the Chapman Road area) still waiting for the lights to go on.

The snow created havoc on the roads. But it was the ice that became the real headache.

The City of Chilliwack estimates more than 200 city trees were damaged. Crews were on scene on Spadina Avenue Tuesday morning, removing damaged branches and assessing what could be saved and what needed to be pruned. Branches also littered the road near the airport on Young Road, as well as Yale Road, Garrison Crossing, Little Mountain and Chilliwack Mountain.

The city says it could take until the third week in January to deal with the mess. Priority will be given to branches that pose a risk to pedestrians or traffic.

Downed trees also created havoc on Highway 1. But it was a rock slide that had the greatest impact. Eastbound lanes were being diverted at Highway 9 to Highway 7 while crews worked to clear debris off the highway.

The road was reopened to traffic at around 11 a.m. Tuesday.

According to Roger Pannett, volunteer weather observer with Environment Canada, totals for Jan. 4 were 44.7 mm of rain and freezing rain and nine cm snow, for a total precipitation amount of 53.7 mm.

Record for the day was the January all time and daily total of 119.6 mm on Jan. 4, 1914, Pannett said.

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