FortisBC has now restored power to some 3,900 customers after they lost electricity following Wednesday night’s brief, but powerful storm.
Winds and heavy rain began around 11 p.m., and quickly intensified.
“We experienced an electricity outage in our system late last night in Kelowna, around the Big White area, due to a windstorm,” Lauren Lea of FortisBC told Global News.
“Our crews worked hard to restore power to about 1,400 of those customers early this morning, and we fully restored power to all customers at 1:30 p.m. this afternoon.”
The strong winds toppled trees, causing some to come crashing down on homes.
“We did know that there were going to be bands of rain with a potential for strong winds,” said Global Okanagan meteorologist Peter Quinlan.
“We didn’t know exactly how strong those gusts could be, because they are oftentimes localized, but this was what we call a convective cell of storms. It was sliding through a cold front and they were brief but very strong wind gusts.”
Quinlan said according to weather reporting stations, winds in the Kelowna area were gusting up to 82 km/h and 78 km/h in Penticton.
A house in the Glenrosa area of West Kelowna was damaged when a tree fell on its roof.
“It just shook the whole house it was like a bomb like a bomb went off,” a resident named Rebecca told Global News.
“It woke me up from a dead sleep and the whole house was vibrating. At first, I thought it was lightning, but then I realized it was way too loud for lightning.”
In the north end of Kelowna’s downtown, part of a large tree also came down onto a home on Ellis Street.
Homeowner Elizabeth Freedman described the scene as spooky.
“The wind just picked up, almost like a tornado coming through here,” Freedman said.
While more windy conditions are in the forecast, Quinlan said he doesn’t anticipate anything quite as powerful as Wednesday night.
“We’re going to see some weaker frontal boundaries push through over the next few days, so gusts of 50 to 60 maybe 70 km/h are possible with these,” Quinlan said.
“But we’re not expecting them to be quite as strong as they were last night in the Central Okanagan.”