Wind storm knocks out power, closes schools in Maple Ridge

The electric business sign of Maple Ridge Hi-Tech Collision Repairs Ltd. blew down during the wind storm overnight

Brothers Vinay and Bines Sharma who run Maple Ridge Hi-Tech Collision Repairs Ltd.

A wind storm Tuesday morning knocked out power in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to more than 7,000 homes.

Fallen trees and debris downed power lines across the Lower Mainland as a high pressure system moved in from the south, causing gusts of up to 60 km/h at Pitt Meadows Airport.

B.C. Hydro crews managed to return power to affected areas in Pitt Meadows by 9 a.m., while close to 2,200 customers remained without power in Maple Ridge.

Several schools across the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District were closed Tuesday due to power outages. In Maple Ridge, Westview secondary, Laity View elementary, Fairview elementary, and Highland Park elementary were all closed.

All schools in Pitt Meadows, meanwhile, remained open. School District No. 42 announced early Tuesday that most schools in Pitt Meadows would be closed for the day, but B.C. Hydro crews restored power five hours earlier than expected.

The wind storm also wreaked havoc on the morning commute as the West Coast Express was delayed due to fallen debris on the tracks. The first train held up for 45 minutes as tracks were cleared, while the second morning train was delayed 30 minutes.

Many homes and businesses in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows also felt the brunt of the storm.

Vimay Sharma owns Hi-Tech Collision on Dewdney Trunk Road in Maple Ridge and showed up to work Tuesday morning to find the auto repair shop’s neon sign destroyed.

Sharma estimates the damage at $7,000 to $8,000.

“I was shocked,” Sharma said. “No one called to tell me, no one saw it happen. There’s 14 neon tube lights, so there should have been big sparks everywhere.”

B.C. Hydro estimates most customers still without power in Maple Ridge should have their electricity back on by early Tuesday afternoon.

However, crews could have a busy week ahead of them. Another storm is expected to blow through the Lower Mainland Wednesday night, bringing more wind and rain.

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