Chilliwack’s first responders were kept busy Tuesday afternoon, as a powerful windstorm pushed through the region.
The wind hit just after noon, with gusts up to 56 km/h according to Environment Canada. Trees toppled over cars and homes and blocked streets and highways. Service and power lines broke causing dangerous situations all across the city, including small fires from transformer explosions.
By about 2 p.m., every available fire crew was out on calls dealing with dangling power lines and downed trees.
“We’ve tapped out all the resources in the city,” a voice over the scanner said, referring to fire department resources. “And more calls are coming in.”
Calls ran the gamut from service lines disconnecting from houses, to giant trees falling onto vehicles.
There were campers and fishers trapped up a forest service road in the Chilliwack River Valley early in the day. At Herrling Island on Highway 1, an RV travelling at full speed eastbound was hit in the windshield by a falling tree. The three occupants had to be rescued but no serious injuries were reported.
A tree split in two and fell on a parked car on Nowell Street near Chilliwack Central Road.
Crews are working throughout the city to clean up after yesterday's storm. Use our free City of #Chilliwack app to report issues, and please watch out for crews on the roads. #BCStorm pic.twitter.com/RHYfJBz6nc
— City of Chilliwack (@City_Chilliwack) October 14, 2020
There were also reports of roofs and building material flying into streets, and other damage to properties. On Chilliwack Lake Road, several trees and lines came down, trapping a vehicle on the road for several hours.
At one point there were at least 20 power outages throughout Chilliwack, and many of those lasted through to Wednesday morning. The City of Chilliwack is reminding residents that their crews are out today (Oct.14) cleaning up after the storm.
The windstorm affected at least one business for the day.
Chilliwack Golf Club management decided to close due to the high winds.
“Doesn’t happen that often fortunately, once or twice a year,” said manager Bryan Ewart. “It was really blustery today. I’m surprised we didn’t lose power.”
The wind, which was coming in from the southwest, stopped at about 11 p.m. and Environment Canada is forecasting steady rains throughout the weekend.
The Chilliwack Firefighters sent out a reminder to residents about how to stay safe in windstorms:
1. If you come across an area that is either coned or taped off, do not cross. There may be compromised live electrical lines in the area that pose a fatal risk;
2. Be cautious around tall or dead trees;
3. If you encounter downed power lines stay back at least as far as the next power pole;
4. And lastly, if your power is out, be very cautious if using an open flame for heat or light.
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