Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include information from FortisBC.
Grand Forks saw some flooding and damages to buildings thanks to a storm that blew through on Friday night (June 22).
Hal Wright, manager for operations for the City of Grand Forks, pointed out that the lightning did leave some damage to the city.
“At our public town shops, we had quite a few electrical devices that weren’t working,” he said. “The building was unoccupied at the time of the electrical storm but come Monday morning, nine of our large overhead doors weren’t working and from what we could tell, the circuit boards to the operators were fried from what appeared to be a power surge.”
Wright noted that something must have hit fairly close to the circuit boards, as the radios and gas pump operator were also not functioning.
“I’m not sure if it was just a power surge from the lines as a result of the lightning storm,” he added. “Later that night when the storm hit, we had trees down that blocked roads and we had to have our crews out on a couple of different occasions to remove the trees from the lanes of traffic.”
Prior to the lightning storm, a truck hit a tree outside of the CIBC building.
“A fairly substantial tree limb had to be taken down to protect anybody who may be out,” said Wright.
The wind that accompanied the storm left branches and leaves littering the streets around the city, and also damaged a power line near Interfor’s Grand Forks mill.
“That took out three poles, so our crews are busy repairing that,” Wright said. “They have re-routed the power and everyone is up and running, but they have to get this other line to make sure we have full power and the backup ready for that area.”
On Sunday, June 24, a mix of hail and rain also saw some areas of Grand Forks with flash flooding.
“The townhomes on Granby Road saw some flooding when the water was coming down from the Valley Heights area overflowed our storm sewers at that time. The water was starting to fill their parking lots,” Wright explained. “We had quite a few concerned residents contacting the city for assistance there.”
The city vacuum truck was sent to relieve the flooding by draining their parking lot and storm sewer.
Wright noted that locals have said these storms have surprised them as well.
“Everything is back to normal now,” he concluded. “The river doesn’t seem to be flowing too high at the moment, but who knows with these storms that have been rolling through here.”
Tracy Tang, a media communications spokesperson for FortisBC, stated there were crews working throughout the storm to restore power in Grand Forks and Christina Lake.
‘There were some high winds and rainy conditions late Friday and into Saturday that affected customers,” she said. “By Sunday afternoon, the customers in those areas have been restored.”
Tang noted that around 600 homes were affected in Grand Forks and around 250 homes in Christina Lake.
“Due to the really high winds, there was a lot of debris that ended up on the roads and the lines, which hampered some of the repair efforts,” Tang added. “Once the debris was removed then the repairs were able to take place. The last I checked with operations staff, the power has been restored to all homes.”
If customers expect any power outages, Tang pointed out the FortisBC can be reached at 1-866-436-7847, which is a 24-hour line.
There were reports of damage at Christina Lake and calls to Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Area C Director Grace McGregor, Christina Lake Fire Rescue Chief Ken Gresley-Jones, and Emcon Services Inc. Division Manager Joe Mottishaw were made but none have responded as of yet.