FortisBC crews have been working around the clock since Monday morning to remove trees on lines, repair damage and restore customers following the Monday, September 7, windstorm that approximately 6,000 customers in the Kootenays lost power due to trees damaging four transmission lines and many smaller lines that provide service to the area.
As of Wednesday afternoon, FortisBC said more than 5,000 customers have been restored.
“One transmission line on the east shore of Kootenay Lake as well as small distribution lines throughout the region still has significant damage,” FortisBC media release said.
“As a result, pockets of customers in the Slocan Valley, the east shore of Kootenay Lake and Creston areas may be out until late (Thursday) afternoon.”
FortisBC said additional crews from contractors and BC Hydro have been brought in to restore customers more quickly.
“Trees weakened by the initial windstorm may continue to fall on our lines over the coming days,” FortisBC said.
“As a result, we encourage customers be prepared for intermittent outages.”
FortisBC said realizes extended outages can have a significant impact on our customers’ lives and are working as hard to restore power to everyone.
“We’re sorry for the disruption this outage has caused,” FortisBC said.
Small distribution line delays restoring of power to customers in Slocan Valley, East shore of Kootenay Lake, Creston
FortisBC said as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, the utility company had restored power to about 4,150 customers in Kaslo, Fruitvale, Salmo and Slocan City, as well as significant numbers of customers in Creston and Castlegar.
FortisBC said it is expecting a good portion to be restored in the Crawford Bay and Slocan Valley Tuesday evening.
“One transmission line on the east shore of Kootenay Lake as well as small distribution lines throughout the region still have significant damage,” FortisBC said.
“As a result, pockets of customers in the Slocan Valley, the east shore of Kootenay Lake and Creston areas may be out until late Wednesday afternoon.”
FortisBC crews working to restore power following Labour Day windstorm
FortisBC is advising customers that due to damage to company transmission lines from the wind that ripped through the West Kootenay region early Labour Day morning that some customers in the area of Crawford Bay, Kaslo, Coffee Creek and in the Slocan Valley will not have their power restored until Tuesday.
“Due extreme wind in the region through the early (Monday) morning, about 6,000 customers in the Kootenay lost power due to trees that fell upon our transmission lines and resulting damage to our infrastructure,” FortisBC said on its website.
“Additional crews were brought in to assist with repairs and are working into the night to restore service to as many customers as possible.”
FortisBC said customers in Fruitvale, Salmo and Slocan City have been restored, as well as significant numbers of customers in Creston and Castlegar.
“We know extended outages can have a significant impact on our customers’ lives and we’re working as hard as we can to restore power to everyone,” FortisBC said. “We’re sorry for the disruption this outage has caused.”
Nelson Fire Rescue & Services were on scene above the former Pacific Insight building on Highway 3A to secure the road Monday morning. — The Nelson Daily photo
Environment Canada issues Special Weather Statement
The West Kootenay, Kootenay Lake and Boundary regions saw the expected gusty winds this morning called for in a Special Weather Statement by Environment Canada Monday morning.
The West Kootenay also remains under a Air Quality Statement.
Environment Canada said a strong ridge of high pressure has built over northern BC and is expanding southwards.
“Northerly wind has increased during the night with gusts upwards of 70 km/h possible through many of the valleys in the southern interior today,” Environment Canada website said.
“Winds will likely peak this morning, however gusty conditions may prevail throughout the day.”
Environment Canada said while wind gusts of this magnitude are not out of the ordinary, people out enjoying the waterways or campgrounds this Labour Day weekend should be prepared for any sudden increases in wind.
Nelson experienced the power of the storm early Monday morning as wind gusts ripped tree branches onto streets and knocked a power line down at the road entance to the new subdivision above the former Pacific Insight building on Highway 3A, west of the Heritage City.
Nelson Fire Rescue & Services responded along with RCMP to secure the area from the public.
Tree branches and leaves filled streets in Rosemont following the Monday morning storm. —The Nelson Daily photo