As quickly as it came, the wind that whipped through Agassiz-Harrison was gone.
On Wednesday, October 14, the communities are left to picking up branches, sweeping away large piles of debris and assessing the damage to their cars as a windstorm turned an otherwise sunny day into a treacherous time for commuters.
At one point, every emergency crew in the Chilliwack area was called out as residents faced downed power lines, blocked roads, outages and damage.
Ashley Vogt was on the road when a tree fell directly in front of the car in front of hers. According to her post on a local Facebook group, the vehicle ahead of her couldn’t stop in time and ended up getting stuck on top of the tree.
“I got out of my vehicle to check on him and it was incredible to see that within minutes, a group of people came around to help clear the way,” Vogt wrote. “As we were all clearing the road, I felt such a rush of gratefulness for community and it was so beautiful that strangers were coming together to help out.”
As of the morning after the storm, B.C. Hydro reported 192,000 customers without power across the province. The hardest hit areas included Abbotsford and Chilliwack. By the time 6 a.m. struck on Wednesday morning, nearly 96 per cent of the power was restored.
According to B.C. Hydro records, Harrison Hot Springs and the surrounding area had its lights out for almost three hours with 1,530 customers affected by a tree down across the wires. Elsewhere throughout the District of Kent and Popkum area, nearly 3,800 customers had no power throughout the afternoon; almost all outages, big and small, had trees down across the wires as the cause. The largest power outage in the area stretched from Young Road in Chilliwack to south of the Lougheed Highway, knocking out power for 2,225 people.
Near Peters Road, the power was reportedly out for almost six hours, the longest of the day in Agassiz-Harrison. This is based on power restoration records as of Wednesday afternoon; most restored outages in the area do not yet have recorded times for when the power came back on.
On Tuesday (October 13), the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) announced that Cheam Lake Wetlands Regional Park and Popkum Community Trail are closed until further notice due to downed trees. The park was reopened on Wednesday afternoon (October 14).
On a lighter note – both literally and figuratively – a few locals exchanged lighthearted notes on Facebook as they had to track down their stray furniture as the breeze swept up patio fixtures and carried them across town.
If you come across a downed power line, stay back at least 10 metres and dial 911 immediately.
– With files from Jessica Peters
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