BC Hydro crews work to restore power in Kitimat during the recent snow storm.

BC Hydro crews work to restore power in Kitimat during the recent snow storm.

Kitimat recovering after massive snowfall

Kitimat was hit suddenly with a massive snow fall over the Family Day weekend.

It was a trick.

After a January of rain, rain and more rain, Old Man Winter unleashed a ferocious snow storm the likes of which had not been seen here for many a year.

After a gorgeous sunny day Wednesday, February 4, heavy powder snow began falling overnight and continued to come down throughout the day February 5.

Even then it wasn’t anything we wouldn’t see in any normal winter storm.

But as darkness fell the full fury of the storm was unleashed and increased through Friday, February 6 as a fully fledged blizzard.

The first power outages started Thursday night and their number grew on Friday as the snow load brought down trees and power lines, especially on the Kitamaat Village Road as the village lost all power.

At 10:21 a.m. Friday the city’s public works operations manager Brian Krause, in a release, said, “Our employees are doing the best they can and we ask all Kitimatians to bear with us as the snow continues to fall.

By then the city’s recreation facilities had already closed.

They were to be followed by the City Centre Mall, other businesses and even the bus service.

At 7:40 p.m mayor Phil Germuth issued a statement the city was doing the best it could in the circumstances.

“Our employees have been working around the clock to get streets cleared but the extremely heavy snowfall, combined with power outage, has made these efforts challenging.”

As the blizzard roared on private contractors and Rio Tinto Alcan joined the city in its efforts to clear streets more quickly and the city said crews would be working through the night.

It also warned it would be towing vehicles abandoned on city streets to Nechako Centre – vehicles left on streets were creating havoc with efforts to clear roads.

By Friday night Kitimat’s Emergency Operations Centre had been set up to organise all the extra equipment and Kitimat Search and Rescue was on standby in case snowmobiles were needed to access snowed-in homes.

And then as quick as the blizzard hit it was over.

Both snow and wind ended in the early hours of Saturday and the morning brought glorious sunshine, which allowed crews to start catching up on the road clearing.

But it was not over for the residents of Kitimaat Village.

With the power at the village having been out since 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Haisla chief councillor Ellis Ross posted a notice on Facebook calling for an evacuation of the village and advising there was a three-hour window to do that.

“If you have the means to get to town…please be gone before 8 a.m. Anytime after 8 a.m. don’t even try. The crews will be working and there will be no traffic allowed.

Many of the evacuees were able to find accommodation with family or friends in town while those who couldn’t were accommodated at Riverlodge where community volunteers provided hot meals.

FOOTNOTE: Kitimat has the best snow clearing of any town of similar size anywhere in Canada.

And yet it was stretched beyond the limit. That is a mark of the severity of the storm.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, prepares a dose of the Moderna vaccine in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Almost two in three Canadians surveyed recently said they trust COVID-19 vaccines to be both safe and effective. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Northern Health to open 30 COVID vaccine clinics for oldest residents, Indigenous seniors

Health authority says it plans to vaccinate nearly 15,000 people in Phase Two

Alexander Ericksons award-winning piece, The Provider, on display at the Kitimat Museum and Archives (Photo Frieda Design School)
Kitimat Museum and Archives host Freda Diesing school art exhibition

Local Kitimat art exhibition from students of the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art

Security has been stepped up at both Kitimat General Hospital in Kitimat, pictured here, and at the Mills Memorial Hospital in Terrace. (File photo)
Stillbirth reaction leads to more hospital security

Staff, physicians facing threats and harassment

Workers at Kitimat General Hospital were presented with a large variety of food packages in appreciation of the last year of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The donations came via local Epicurean representative Kerri Weightman who collected money for the purchases. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
Hospital workers receive food donation

Workers at Kitimat General Hospital were presented with a large variety of… Continue reading

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Most Read