The BC Windstorm of August 2015

 

It came out of nowhere and only lasted a few hours, and then we saw the devastation…

On Saturday, August 29th I was recovering from a very late night with little sleep as I allowed my 21 year old son to have a party post-birthday since it landed in the middle of the week this year.

He was on the phone and I was noticing the eddies of leaves along our street, and heard the wind come up through the trees.  He went to head up the hill here in Coquitlam to stop in at his girlfriend’s. He’d only been gone a few minutes when he called me all upset. My mind raced to my worst fear that perhaps he’d totaled the car, but then he told me he’d been narrowly missed by huge falling trees on Pinewood Drive, just below our fire station which closed that street.

BC Hydro deemed it one of the worst natural disasters its seen in 10 years.  710,000 of its 1.4 million BC Hydro customers on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland lost power. It’s been deemed the single largest outage in the company’s history. Hundreds of street intersection lights were knocked out, causing huge traffic delays throughout the lower mainland.  Winds were up to 90km/ hour at its peak.

After my son had called me, I put on a jacket and headed out to see this windfall he mentioned for myself. I cut through a small portion of Hoy Trail on my way, and soon regretted that move. Sounds, which I first thought were lightning strikes, were actually trees cracking and my short 50 yard walk through the trail turned into a sprint for me as limbs snapped from branches and dropped around me.

11874835_10156020614765182_763599763_o
These trees may look small but the two on the ground were taller than I and I had to climb over them to get home.

I later walked along the full loop of Hoy Trail behind Douglas College and in two spots the trail was impassible as beautiful very old trees had come down. I had to climb up over them to get home.

Our power remained out for over 48 hours (some suffered through 72), and it was crazy to find out the large area of the lower mainland of Vancouver that was affected, out to White Rock and Abbottsford.  Apparently the winds came up from the south, which was rare, and we’ve had such a dry, hot summer, and the trees were in full heavy leaves that it cause for more to be uprooted.

What I found most interesting, when I review my photos now, is that many of the trees actually snapped in half or higher up, and were not uprooted.

I took this photo 4 days after the storm... trees just snapped like match sticks.
I took this photo 4 days after the storm… trees just snapped like match sticks.

The power outage was a pain, but my family is used to the hurricanes of The Bahamas so this hardship was light in comparison. We had running water, our barbecue, and Coleman stove, and electricity was spotty throughout Coquitlam, so could run out to charge phones, etc.

Mother Nature remains a force to be reckoned with and makes us ‘humble’ humans at her call…

11984387_10156020608725182_1728982238_o
Coquitlam firefighters talk to residents of a condominium on Lasalle Place which had a huge tree fall onto and through the roof. The roped off area is the top of that tree, the trunk is at the back end of the condo.

See more of my photos in my Facebook album.

2 thoughts on “The BC Windstorm of August 2015”

  1. As I read your words, I felt as if I experienced that storm. Thank you for writing such a clear and powerful story and I was happy that no one was hurt. Did the trees and the leaves being stripped off of the branches have the same scent as a here in The Bahamas during a hurricane?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *