A toppled tree temporarily blocked Baker St. in downtown Nelson yesterday. Photo: Tyler Harper

Windstorm rocks Baker Street, downs trees across Nelson

Power was knocked out Tuesday afternoon as trees toppled across town

Nelson trees buckled under the pressure as a windstorm swept through town Tuesday afternoon, knocking out power from Blewett to Procter.

Crews jumped into action to clear the mess off the roadways, while a number of houses and cars were struck by falling debris. One toppled tree blocked Baker Street temporarily.

“The are multiple points of tree impact to power lines so the full extent of the damage is not yet known,” the City of Nelson posted yesterday at 3:30 p.m., while deploying crews to clean up the mess.

By four hours later, most of the power had been restored, though the city warned “power may be restored but knocked down again as branches continue to fall.”

‘I couldn’t believe the size of those trees coming down’

Contacted on Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Deb Kozak told the Star that Nelson Hydro crews as well as the city’s contractor Martech have been doing an impressively efficient job of restoring power and cleaning up the streets.

“I couldn’t believe the size of some of those trees coming down. It had a huge impact on our power supply,” she said.

Power had been completely restored to Nelson at that point, but crews were still working on lines for a few small communities outside the city limits, which left approximately 60 residents without power for at least a full day.

Coming off one of the worst fire seasons in recent history, Kozak has climate disruption on her mind. She just came from a Columbia Basin Trust conference in Kimberley where government officials discussed climate change.

She noted Nelson is already hosting climate refugees. One of the speakers who impressed her was Waking the Frog author Tom Rand, who has visited Nelson in the past.

“He talked about how we need to shift how we think, how we need to have a variety of ways to produce energy — which we’re already doing in this region, so it made me proud to know we’re doing the best we can,” she said.

“We’re going to continue to have big rains and storms and forest fires, but we’re doing all we can to lessen our impact on the environment, and doing it in a smart way that builds community.”

To sign up for power outage updates through a system called Notify Me, visit nelson.ca.

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