A tree fell near the corner of Haugland Ave. and Eby St. during the storm on July 22. (Sarah Artis photo)

A tree fell near the corner of Haugland Ave. and Eby St. during the storm on July 22. (Sarah Artis photo)

Storm causes blackout across northern B.C.

Lightning and downed trees knocked out power for more than 4,000 Terrace customers

  • Jul. 23, 2019 12:00 a.m.

BC Hydro was hard at work getting power restored to almost 4,400 customers across the Terrace area after a lightning storm caused blackouts throughout the region July 22.

Crews were working to remove trees from power lines and repair downed wire not only in the Terrace area, but across a wide swath of the northwest where strong winds and lightning impacted thousands of BC Hydro customers.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the number of Terrace customers without power dropped to just one. Crews had been assigned to each outage, though there is no estimate for when power would be restored.

READ MORE: Small branch blamed for power outage in Terrace

“While more than 99 per cent of affected customers in Terrace have their lights back on, the area encompassing the Hazeltons, Kispiox, Kitwanga, Gitanyow and Cedarvale, over 1,500 customers are still without power,” says a BC Hydro spokesperson. “Stewart and Smithers areas have seen some progress, but both have over 100 customers remaining out.”

Strong winds and adverse wet weather began around 4:30 p.m. on Monday afternoon. The storm brought powerful wind gusts of up to 105 kilometres per hour with 8.8 mm of rain, according to Environment Canada.

The Terrace Fire Department responded to seven emergency instances with trees on fire over power lines and live wires on the ground. There was also a report of a structure fire with power lines on fire, a call reporting a trapped person in an elevator who needed to be rescued, and a few commercial fire alarms.

Terrace city crews were worked throughout the night doing light clean up on Lanfear Hill and other roads covered in debris. BC Hydro crews were out as well dealing with downed power lines. Ten traffic control workers were stationed at ‘high-risk’ locations as the fire department continued to respond to other areas, the city says.

The city’s environment services department was busy checking generators. There were some issues with sewage treatment plant generators, and crews were busy getting them working again.

“Some of the lift stations run on mobile generators so they had to service them,” a city spokesperson says.

Electrical systems foreman was out dealing with power losses around the city, including at City Hall during their regular council meeting.

READ MORE: Electricity restored to Terrace after regional power outage

A video posted on social media shows downed power lines explode in a burst of yellow and blue static across from the Bear Country Inn at the Skeena Mall.

A tree on Ferry Island fell on top of a camper’s truck after being struck by lightning. Fallen trees had also blocked off Haugland Ave. and Lanfear Hill.

City roads crews were out the next day, July 23 doing cleanup on public property. The city says crews are not picking up debris on private property, and any cleanup requiring flagging will wait until there are flaggers available.

Trail users are also advised to exercise caution on Ferry Island, Howe Creek, Tetrault Park and Terrace Mountain trails. Sections of Ferry Island trails have been closed because of hanging branches and intertwined fallen trees. The city says crews are working to remove all debris and re-open the trails.

— with files from Quinn Bender and Natalia Balcerzak


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