Strong winds during a thunderstorm last July blew down a large tree in Nelson. A windstorm Tuesday took down many trees in the Slocan Valley knocking out power to 1500 residents in that area.

Fortis works to restore power after windstorm

Fortis BC is working to restore power to 1500 Slocan Valley residents after a windstorm struck the community yesterday.

Fortis BC is working to restore power to 1500 Slocan Valley residents after a windstorm struck the community yesterday.

Around 4 p.m. power started to fail in parts of the Slocan Valley and other pockets in the surrounding areas, says spokesperson Michael Allison.

“These are all weather-related outages — lines on the ground, trees coming into contact with lines,” he said.

At the first report of outages, crews were dispatched.

“They were working at maximum capacity overnight and this morning we have relief crews out there to clear the lines and restore service to the customers,” said Allison. “We recognize that the power has been out for some time and it is an inconvenience to our customers.”

Concerns for safety come first including that of the residents and crews working the area. Restoring power comes second. At this point, Fortis cannot say when electricity will be fully returned to the community.

“The storms were so widespread and so many areas are affected,” said Allison. “Customers will be restored at the distribution level as soon as possible. That’s the lines that go to people’s homes. There are just so many different spots hit that they’re working at them one by one.”

One Vallican resident says the windstorm had a dramatic effect on people in her community. Travelling during the storm was treacherous according to stories she heard and her own experience returning home from Slocan Park.

“Yesterday afternoon there was only one-lane traffic to Castlegar because of all the trees on the road,” she said. “People driving from Winlaw to Passmore had to dodge trees as they were trying to dodge trees along the highway. People were almost hit.”

According to her 93-year-old neighbours, the storm was like nothing they’d seen in 50 years. It’s not surprising the damage that ensued.

“We have three huge clumps of trees on the road with wires all entangled in them,” she said.

Her concern is for safe travel as well as restoration of power after over 18 hours without service.

Allison said this time of year often comes with storms causing damage. Wind takes down trees ready to break.

“The wind did hit quite hard,” he said. “Unfortunately, the power lines are there.”