Ryan Koch

Windstorm cleanup still underway

A massive windstorm put much of Langley in the dark.

A powerful windstorm knocked out power, closed down stores, parks, and community centers, and left a lot of damage by the end of Saturday.

The high winds hit late Monday morning and continued into the afternoon, downing trees and knocking out electricity to vast areas of Langley Township and parts of the City.

By Monday, some areas, including sizable swathes of North Langley, were still without power.

“Crazy, 177 calls on Saturday and 135 yesterday [Sunday],” said assistant Township fire chief Bruce Ferguson of the situation.

Of those calls, 82 on Saturday were for power lines down and 11 were for Hydro poles, branches, or transformers on fire. On Sunday there were 52 calls for wires down, and eight fires on Hydro poles.

Both days also saw the fire department responding to false alarms caused when power surged or came back.

Most of the manpower available to the department was out and working on the weekend.

“It’ll certainly impact our wages budget for the paid call,” Ferguson said.

Langley City escaped the worst of the damage and most areas had their power on.

“We’ve been fairly lucky,” said deputy Langley City fire chief Kelly Gilday.

There were lines and trees down, but “nowhere near the magnitude of what happened around us,” Gilday said.

That made the City a haven for people seeking hot food and somewhere to plug in a cell phone charger.

Coffee shops and restaurants in the City were crammed on Saturday evening and into Sunday morning as people from Walnut Grove, Murrayville, and other dark areas of the Township sought out electricity.

“Sunday was crazy busy,” said Lynn Chang, owner of the McBurney Coffee and Tea House on Fraser Highway.

The rush started Saturday and didn’t let up until about 4 p.m. on Monday, Chang said.

“Sunday we ran out of bread, those things,” Chang said. “There were a lot of sandwich orders.”

She said there were lineups out the doors at virtually every restaurant up and down Fraser Highway in the City’s downtown core.

The Greater Vancouver Zoo had to close at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday after trees began falling within the grounds. Several fences were damaged, but no animals were hurt of managed to escape, said zoo manager Jody Henderson.

Several parks including Brookswood Park and sections of the Fort to Fort Trail were closed due to fallen trees and debris.

 

By Tuesday, power was back on to the vast majority of the Langleys, but hundreds of residents and businesses remained in the dark in small to medium sized pockets. The situation was much the same through Surrey and Abbotsford.

 

 

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