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Wind wreaks havoc in Richmond

By Don Fennell

Published 12:52 PDT, Wed May 24, 2017

Wind featuring gusts of up to 80 kilometres per hour wreaked havoc in Richmond overnight Tuesday, leaving some 8,000 homes and businesses without power for anywhere from just a few minutes to several hours.

Toppled trees did the most damage, with the City of Richmond called out to 35 locations, and city spokesperson Ted Townsend explaining that six trees fell on vehicles and another on a house.

“At one time, No. 3, No. 2, Gilbert, No. 5 and River roads were completely blocked to traffic because of trees down,” he said.

Trees down across power lines were cited by BC Hydro as the cause of the majority of the outages, including one area bound by No. 3 Road and No. 7 Road, south of Bridgeport Road and north of Steveston Highway that affected 3,254 customers from 9:47 p.m. Tuesday to 2:34 a.m. Wednesday.

Downed trees were also to blame for an outage that left 715 customers without power south-west of Bridgeport Road and east of Viking Way between 10:51 p.m. Tuesday and 5:03 a.m. Wednesday, and a further 378 customers in an area south of River Road and east of Vulcan Way between 9:15 p.m. and 11:25 p.m. Tuesday.

Customers in an area west of Ash Street and east of Magnolia Drive was also without power due to a cause listed on BC Hydro’s website as “other” but only for a couple of minutes just before 10 p.m. Tuesday. Other causes were also responsible for an extended outage west of Highway 99 and south of Seahurst Road between 9:50 p.m. Tuesday and 5:06 a.m. Wednesday.

Less than five customers in the 7600 block of Blundell Rd. were also without power from just after 9 p.m. Tuesday, with power restored just before 4 a.m. Wednesday.

Tents and booths at the Richmond Night Market were also battered by the storm, leaving founder Raymond Cheung scrambling to organize clean-up efforts Wednesday morning.

“There’s lots of damage. It’s one of the worst wind storms we’ve seen since we opened the market,” reported Cheung, as he walked around the site which is located near the River Rock Casino and close to the Fraser River and Vancouver International Airport.

“In the past two or three years I’ve noticed more windy days, so we’ve been (adding) quite a bit more anchoring just in case. But even though we did that again this year, it was no match to Mother Nature.”

Cheung said he doesn’t know how much it will cost to repair the damage, but said he has “no choice” but to forge ahead.

“We have to be ready for Friday (when the night market is scheduled to re-open),” he said.

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