Thursday’s ice storm in the lower Fraser Canyon wreaked havoc with travelers, trains and power lines for three days.
Rain first began to fall last Wednesday afternoon, January 12, coating in a layer of ice the foot of dry snow that had fallen overnight. By Thursday, travel was treacherous along the highway between Yale and Boston Bar. By Friday, power lines were taking a beating as rows of trees were snapping off at the top under the weight of the building ice.
A number of trees also came down on the railway line halting rail traffic until rail crews cleared the tracks. Massive firs then began to uproot, once they became unable counterbalance the weight of the ice building at their crowns. Power poles and street lamps snapped under the heavy weight on their lines.
The sound of treetops and massive branches continuously snapping sounded like shotgun blasts throughout the night, say residents.
“Many people were too afraid to stay in their trailers last night,” said Yale area resident, Curtis Virteau, whose land borders on a number of Emory Creek recreational properties.
Over 1000 people from Hope to north of Boston Bar remained without hydropower, some for as long as 40 hours.
Despite the heavily-forested residential area there were no reports of homes damaged – although many very close calls were reported, including a tree falling lengthwise within a foot of a lodge, and two trees missing both sides of a house in Yale.
The regional district had its emergency operations plans at a stand-by stage, however, residents managed to cope with the lengthy power outage with generators, lanterns, and wood heat, reports area director, Dennis Adamson.
In other weather related news, on Friday, January 14, high-running creeks along Highway 1 began throwing mud and debris onto the roadway. A mud slide at Herrling Island then triggered a closure to all eastbound traffic. The route was reopened later that afternoon.