The first major thunder and lightening storm of the year leaped up the North Thompson from the south on Thursday, Apr. 21.
The wind came first, with gusts that stirred up dust so thick drivers had trouble seeing the roadways in Barriere. The wind also took down a number of large trees and branches that in turn took out BC Hydro transformers and power lines. The transformer pole across from the Barriere Medical centre took an impressive direct hit by lightning, with sparks everywhere, a giant flash and resultant fireball when the contact was made. Fortunately the fire was gone as quickly as it had appeared.
Power was out within the area for approximately seven hours until hydro crews had made numerous repairs to transformers and downed power lines.
Power was returned to many residents at approximately 10:30 p.m. that evening. However, some 70 homes on East Barriere Lake Road were without power until well into Friday.
Area residents report the storm blew over garden sheds, tore off shingles, and generally spread branches and debris throughout the area.
One area rancher reported one of their cows was sleeping in a grove of fir trees when the wind gusts hit. A 60 foot fir tree was instantly uprooted and blown over right beside the cow, missing her by inches. The rancher says, “The cow was not a bit put out by the crashing of the tree, the cow just got up and started eating on the fallen tree’s branches.”
Another resident on Barkley Road had two very large evergreens blow down. Both trees were in close proximity to the house but fortunately fell away from the home.
The two large willow trees in front of the small vacant house beside the new Search and Rescue Hall on Barriere Town Road were both uprooted and slammed to the ground. Neither tree touched either of the buildings.
The storm then travelled north from Barriere, leaving a number of residents in Clearwater without power as well, some not restored until Friday.
Due to the Apr. 21 power outage in Barriere, a number of events scheduled within the community for that afternoon or evening had to be cancelled or postponed.
The Grad 2016 Fashion Show at Barriere Secondary was rescheduled for the following day, as was the Chinese buffet at the Station House Family Dining Restaurant.
The School District 73 board meeting in Kamloops that evening was to have been live streamed at the high school, due to no power the video did not take place.
Environment Canada reported the next day some 1500 lightning strikes had taken place within the Kamloops North Thompson area during the Thursday storm.