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Updated: Trees toppled as winds hit 96 km/h in storm

Trees are blocking roads across Revelstoke and 3,500 customers lost power in fierce wind storm

It toppled trees and knocked out power and may have been the fiercest wind storm in Revelstoke’s recorded history.

On Sunday, for about an hour, Revelstokians had to batten down the hatches as a storm system brought gusts of almost 100 kilometres per hour sweeping through town.

Hundreds of trees were knocked down and most of the community lost power for a period of time. Some homes and vehicles were hit, but there have been no reports of injuries yet.

According to Environment Canada, the top wind speed was 96 kilometres per hour, and the average speed during the storm was 65 kilometres per hour.

“We had a trough of low pressure moving through yesterday. In the wake of that cold front there was a line of thunderstorms that moved through the region,” said Cindy Yu, a meteorologist with Environment Canada. “Because the atmosphere is on the dryer side, the precipitation evaporated before it reaches the ground. It creates a momentum and it adds to what’s along the cold front and it causes those wind gusts.”

Trees were toppled all over Revelstoke, with several falling on power lines. Firefighters and RCMP were dispatched to block off areas where downed trees presented a threat to public safety.

Roger Echlin, the assistant chief of the fire department, said they responded to 25 incidents including a grass & brush fire, propane gas leak, fire alarms, downed wires and downed trees.

Darren Komonoski, the head of public works, said they had six large trees down in city parks. He said they had 50 calls about downed trees and had eight workers go out to remove trees that were blocking roads.

At its peak, the storm knocked out power to about 3,500 customers from Revelstoke to Trout Lake, said BC Hydro spokesperson Jen Walker-Larsen. Crews were able to restore power to most people by Monday morning, but 264 customers in the Big Eddy, along Illecillewaet Road, on Track Street and south of the Shelter Bay Ferry are still without power.

In a Facebook post, the Revelstoke Museum & Archives said the fiercest windstorm in their records was one June 22, 1955, when 80 kilometre per hour winds knocked down trees, stripped the roof materials off homes, and blew out one end of the skating rink.

At 96 kilometres per hour, Sunday’s storm appears to top that. Unfortunately, Environment Canada doesn’t track wind speed records because of the changes of the way they’ve been kept over the years, said Yu.

Several trees were blown over in our editor’s backyard. ~ Photo by Alex Cooper, Revelstoke Review
A tree lies on some power lines on Mercs Road in the Big Eddy. ~ Photo by Alex Cooper, Revelstoke Review