Thursday’s storm the biggest of the decade, caused ‘widespread chaos’

Winds over 100 km/h knocked out weather network

Call it the morning after.

Trees, power lines, signs, garbage bins, Christmas lights and other detritus blew wild in Thursday’s windstorm that rocked Vancouver Island and the South Coast of B.C.

Saanich Fire fielded approximately 120 calls to 9-1-1 between noon and 9 p.m. Thursday.

“Dispatch was extremely busy throughout this period and we increased our staffing from two to three dispatchers to support the increased call volume and the numerous incidents crews were responding to,” said Saanich spokesperson Megan Catalano.

Saanich Fire added a crew of one officer and three firefighters to assist with the heavy call load.

“Everyone was busy, widespread chaos, but nothing out of the ordinary beyond the downed power lines,” said Saanich Fire deputy chief Dan Wood.

Sustained gusts topping 100 km/h tore entire trees out of the ground and downed major limbs onto power lines, roads, cars and houses. In many bays boats snapped their anchor lines, or dragged the anchors with them to the shore. Incident responses were spread out across Saanich with downed power lines or debris related issues at Saanich Road near Swan lake, Royal Oak Drive and Old West Saanich Road.

As of 1 p.m. C-Tow and active Cadboro Bay steward Ian Hinkle were partnering to remove a 35-foot sailboat that Hinkle believes has a concrete hull that had washed ashore in the winds.

READ MORE: Iconic Saanichton tree felled in windstorm

The storm also knocked out 55 of the Vancouver Island School-Based Weather Station Network’s 130 stations.

The Cordova Bay weather station had the Island’s highest reading of 132 km/h, though Wiebe is double checking that machine.

“Wind on the site is in one minute averages,” Wiebe said.

Each gust is the highest sample in the minute.

Even if the 132 km/h was an error, the sustained winds at Cordova Bay of 60 to 80 km/h were in line with the rest of the region.

The weather station mounted on Trial Island sits 30 metres high and is extremely exposed and often reports the highest winds in the region, hitting 120 km/h at 4 p.m. Thursday.

Just Posted

Canada ranks among countries most impacted by severe weather

Canada has climbed from the 42nd spot to ninth on the Climate Risk Index

Study shows Oak Bay’s dwindling population is rapidly aging

Housing Needs Study says Oak Bay facing a shortfall of 349 bedrooms

PHOTOS: West Shore students rally for 10,000 Tonight food drive

Students, community members gather, sort food donations

Brotherston sentenced to three years in prison for Sooke home invasion

Home invasion took place on Feb. 9 and left one man with face and head injuries

SD 62 re-elects Ravi Parmar to lead the board for second term

Former Langford fire chief Bob Beckett, in his first term, gets the nod as vice-chair

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ in B.C. waters

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Dec. 10

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you have a real or artificial Christmas tree?

The lights are up, holiday shoppers are bustling through the streets and… Continue reading

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

One man dead after car crash in Nanaimo

One person died, another was injured in the accident which happened Wednesday on Nanaimo Lakes Road

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

B.C. conservation officers put down fawn blinded by pellet gun on Vancouver Island

Young deer found near construction site in Hammond Bay area in Nanaimo, B.C.

Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

Loggers call for action on strike, provincial stumpage

Most Read