The powerful noise that woke Elaine McDermid as trees crashed down on her South Surrey home early Tuesday had the mother of three fearing the worst.
“I thought somebody was taking a log to our front door,” McDermid said hours later, surveying the damage caused by the overnight windstorm.
“I just thought the house was exploding.”
Intense overnight winds gusting to more than 100 kilometres per hour are being blamed for tens of thousands of Surrey and White Rock residents waking up without power this morning, to a landscape littered with fallen branches.
The pounding rain that began Monday evening and continued into the early hours Tuesday is also being blamed for traffic disruptions, ferry cancellations and debris throughout the Lower Mainland and beyond.
At the storm’s peak, about 83,000 hydro customers were without power, including 12,000 in White Rock, 28,000 in Surrey and 7,600 in Langley.
While power to most areas was expected to be restored by noon today, BC Hydro has since advised that some customers will likely remain without power until about 5 p.m.
McDermid said the first trees hit her house, in the 1900-block of 133B Street, at 1:40 a.m.; another came down at 4 a.m. Two trunks from the split cedar narrowly missed coming through her 19-year-old son’s second-floor bedroom window.
The winds were the most powerful she can recall in the nearly 20 years her family has lived in the area, she added.
Bob Henning was similarly awed.
“What a night,” said the Crescent Road resident, whose patio furniture was destroyed in the storm. “It was crazy out here. I heard (the wind) just heaving – it was like Old Man Wind.”
Henning said the winds were so powerful, he and his father were worried one neighbour’s tall trees would come down on their house.
At another neighbour’s across the street, “it looks like a hurricane came through,” Henning said.
According to BC Hydro, the storm hit pockets of five to nearly 4,700 customers on the Semiahmoo Peninsula, with the biggest spanning South Surrey and White Rock.
The largest areas affected stretched south from Broome Road to Marine Drive and west from Highway 99; and west of Flower Road, south of 23A Avenue. Those customers – totalling approximately 9,000 – had power restored by 12:30 p.m.
Another 2,117 South Surrey customers north of 20 Avenue, south of 34 Avenue, east of 144 Street and west of 155A Street are expected to be without power until around 5 p.m.
Pockets of customers between 32 and 26 Avenues, east of 160 Street are slowly seeing their power restored.
Power has been restored to more than 3,400 Langley, Surrey and White Rock customers in an area bordered by Finlay Street, 32 Avenue and 216 Street; another 1,200 customers west of 142 Street, south of 62 Avenue, north of Colebrook Road and east of 128 Street have also had their power restored.
A number of other areas – including one with 517 customers between 34 and 40 Avenues west of Somerset Crescent – are expected to remain in the dark until around 5 p.m.