High winds threatened to played havoc with White Rock and South Surrey again Thursday – but never quite delivered on it, resulting in what Surrey roads and drainage manager for South operations Jeff Welch called “a non-event.”
And spokespeople for Surrey and White Rock operations departments and BC Hydro say they’re keeping fingers crossed that further storms forecast for the weekend don’t reach the extremes of last Monday.
Welch said Friday that although water levels were extremely high Thursday – particularly on the Serpentine River by the sea dams where water at one point reached within a metre of the top – flooding did not materialize.
“We monitored like crazy to make sure nothing happened, but it was a quiet one, especially in South Surrey, which is usually where it hits us,” he said.
“When you combine high winds with a lot of rain, that’s where you have a concern because the wind makes the water levels higher.”
BC Hydro spokesperson Jennifer Young said Thursday’s storm, which was characterized by south-easterly winds, had nowhere near the severe effects experienced last Sunday and Monday, which left 28,000 local customers without power.
In South Surrey and White Rock Thursday, there were some 500 customers with outages from 3 p.m. on, with power restored just after 6 p.m., she said.
“Most of the outages were caused by trees on the lines, although high winds can also blow lines down, too,” she said. “Most of this was in areas south of Crescent Road, but the hardest hit areas were in Richmond and Ladner.”
Young advocated continued caution among residents, particularly in any case of a compromised power line.
“This is storm season, so we should keep our emergency kits to hand,” she said, adding that anyone seeing a power cable down or damaged should give it a wide berth.
“If you see one, report it as soon as possible to 1-800-POWERON or text *Hydro on your mobile phone.”
White Rock operations manager Paul Slack said impacts from Thursday’s storm were minimal, although ravines on the hillside were closed off with warning signs as winds grew stronger around 2:30 p.m.
“We were concerned about safety because we had one tree fall down,” he said. “There was a fairly good sized tree down in Duprez Ravine, and we’re keeping the ravines closed because of predictions of more storms on Saturday.”
High waves did deposit some debris on the beach, including longs now being cleared from the Boat Launch and there was some waterlogging of grass areas on West Beach, he said.
Winds that pummelled the coast Thursday did have one other local impact – they resulted in the postponement of the Surrey Eagles’ game against the Port Alberni Bulldogs that night.
The B.C. Hockey League tilt, which was supposed to be the first game of a two-game road trip for the Eagles, was set back due to B.C. Ferries sailing cancellations which prevented the Eagles from travelling to Vancouver Island.
The game was rescheduled to Feb. 18.
– with files from Nick Greenizan