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Powerful windstorm causes huge mess at West Vancouver's Centennial Seawalk (PHOTOS)

'I've never seen it this bad before.'

Powerful overnight winds left a big mess at West Vancouver’s Centennial Seawalk, with crews working to clean up debris throughout the day.

The seawalk, which stretches from 18th Street to Dundarave Park, had to be closed in sections as logs were strewn across pathways, benches tipped upside down, and trees uprooted when a windstorm hit the Lower Mainland on Jan. 12.

Ken Speller, a West Vancouver resident, noticed the damage while out on a morning walk around 10:30 a.m., and stopped to take photos. 

"I've never seen it this bad before," he said.

"From about 22nd to about the Silk Purse [Arts Centre] was the most damage. Many huge logs were flung way up on the pathway, [there was] no choice but to climb over them, and lots of people were taking pictures.

"Many of the concrete blocks that line the path were also strewn about. A bench that was secured to the path was upended, a huge tree in the park at about 14th was uprooted along with smaller trees in that area." 

In a release, the District of West Vancouver said Tuesday night’s storm had led to flooding, power outages, and high rivers and streams in the district.

“Sections of the seawalk were closed due to flooding and damage caused by high waves,” a district release stated.

“District crews are working to clear debris and open up sections of the seawalk once they have been determined safe. Please exercise caution in the area and obey closure signage.”

The district also said a tree had fallen down, closing 15th Street between Esquimalt and Gordon avenues. The district has also been clearing catch basins and monitoring creek flows. 

According to the Weather Network, 91 km/h winds were recorded at Vancouver's International Airport, making it the sixth strongest January wind gust on record.

Thousands were left without power across B.C. when the storm hit. BC Hydro worked to restore electricity to over 140,000 customers across the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and Southern Interior. BC Hydro said the hardest hit areas were Abbotsford, Victoria, and Vernon. 

To make a report of storm damage or a power outage:

If you lose power, check the BC Hydro website for a list of reported power outages. To report an outage, contact BC Hydro at 1-888-769-3766. If you see a downed power line, stay back at least 10 metres (about the length of a bus) and call 911. 

Residents can call the District of West Vancouver's dispatch line 24/7 at 604-925-7100 to report flooding and fallen trees on roads and sidewalks, and for emergency service to roads, parks, water, and sewer.

Elisia Seeber is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.