Damage to trees at Lakeside and Gryo Parks from last night's storm is extensive.

Damage to trees at Lakeside and Gryo Parks from last night's storm is extensive.

UPDATED: Lakeside Park re-opened after closure, some areas still without power after storm

It's all hands on deck at Nelson Hydro and the city to restore power and clean up fallen trees.

About two dozen Nelson Hydro staff and contractors have been working all night assessing damage and restoring power to residents of Nelson and rural areas after the worst storm in recent memory. The Star has posted photos and first-hand accounts in a separate story.

Lakeside Park was closed for the day so city crews could clean up the extensive damage, but city hall reports that Canada Day will go ahead as planned. The park was opened to the public again late this afternoon.

According to Nelson Hydro’s Alex Love, “Nelson and Proctor were hit the hardest, with lots of good-sized trees lying on lines, broken poles, and damage to conductors.”

Love said the power has been restored to main power lines except between Coffee Creek and the North Shore but that there will be many pockets of no power—  individual neighbourhoods and houses — for the rest of the day or perhaps into tomorrow.

From Nelson Hydro:

  • If you are still without power – minimize the opening of fridges and freezers so as to preserve the cold as long as possible – some homes may not have power back till Wednesday.
  • For all customers stay away from fallen power lines – they may be energized or become re-energized.
  • We currently have a long list of damage areas. If your power is not on by the mid-afternoon today please call our Hydro Outage line (1-877-324-9376) and let us know so that we can ensure you are on the list of areas needing attention.

UPDATE 11:00 a.m. re: wind speeds and tree clean-up

Ron Lakeman at the Southeast Fire Centre in Castlegar says the wind gusted up to 105 km per hour in Nelson last evening. He said wind speeds have only been recorded in Nelson since 2012, but at the Castlegar airport there are  gusts over 100 km per hour every few years, the highest on record being 113 km per hour in 1986.

“Several other weather stations in the region reached 70 to 80 km per hour last night,” he said, “and winds of that speed will bring trees down.”

Lakeman said the severe wind came from a downdraft related to the thunderstorm.

Public works crews will be working all week cleaning up downed trees that belong to the city, says the city’s Rob Nystrom. “We start with public safety and getting the streets open.”

“It’s daunting,” he said. “Lakeside and Gyro parks were very hard hit, but  we will have Lakeside ready for Canada Day. But it might not be as pretty or well kept as usual.”

He said the city employs a certified arborist who has the expertise to deal safely with fallen trees. But he says for his crews it is not just about the trees. They have had to deal with the possible effects of last night’s storm and power outage on water and sewer infrastructure in the city.

UPDATE 12:20 p.m. re: SEEDS greenhouse

The SEEDS greenhouse at Lakeside Park was destroyed by a fallen tree. Tina Shields of  SEEDS says the group has had to destroy all of its plants because of the danger of glass in the food.

UPDATE 4:00 p.m. re: insurance

The storm is keeping insurance brokers busy. Sam Cowan of RHC Insurance says his office normally gets two or three claims per week, but last evening they received about 20, and today another 100.

Cowan says most of the claims are for tree damage, but there are many for freezer damage related to the power outage, and for water damage including sewer backups.

He said several long-time residents have told him they have not seen a storm as powerful as this in at least thirty years.

UPDATE 4:15 p.m. re: continued hydro outages

Alex Love of Nelson Hydro reports that there are 300 people without power in the following areas: the south shore on Carlson Road, Grohman and Upper Sproule Creek; the north shore on Green Road, RDCK transfer station and Proctor-Harrop; and in the city on Observatory and Hoover Streets.

Love said crews will be working overnight and he expects all power will be back before the end of the day on July 1.

Love sent the following message to the public in an email to the media this afternoon:

“For customers still without power, if you still do not have power on waking in the morning please call our outage line at 1-877-324-9376 and let the operator know. It can happen that crews restore power to an area but one or two houses remain off because of a separate issue we are not aware of.”

UPDATE 4:50 p.m. re: Lakeside Park

City staff have just reported on their Facebook page that Lakeside Park is now open to the public.