BC Hydro reports thousands of power outages as windstorm sweeps Vancouver Island

BC Hydro reports thousands of power outages as windstorm sweeps Vancouver Island
DriveBC says a tree fell on the Pat Bay Highway Wednesday morning, causing some traffic issues. (BC Transportation/Twitter)

BC Hydro is reporting thousands of power outages on Vancouver Island as an anticipated wind storm hits the region, and says it is unlikely that everyone will be restored tonight.

More than 50,000 BC Hydro customers were without electricity as of 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, the result of nearly 100 separate outages, with wind only expected to get worse throughout the day.

BC Hydro says it is expected that more outages will occur as the storm continues, and is using this as an opportunity to remind people to put together an emergency kit.

On the South Island, more than 23,000 BC Hydro customers lost power, with the bulk of the outages occurring on Salt Spring, Duncan/Cowichan, Victoria, the Saanich Peninsula and the West Shore.

Meanwhile, slightly more than 26,000 homes and businesses lost power on central and northern Vancouver Island, with major outages in Nanaimo, Ladysmith and the Comox Valley.

BC Hydro spokesman Ted Olynyk said he expected the east side of the Island to be the hardest-hit, and that due to the large number of outages, power will take some time to restore for everyone.

“Unfortunately with such a large number of customers out, it’s unlikely we’re going to see everybody restored tonight,” he said.

Olynyk added that a “full complement” of BC Hydro crews and contractors were dealing with the extensive damage to power lines, but with the storm expected to continue into the evening, there will likely be more outages as the day goes on.

Environment Canada issued wind warnings for Greater Victoria, east, west and north Vancouver Island Wednesday, however, it rescinded the warnings for all areas except for the east coast and Greater Victoria by the afternoon. A special weather statement remains in effect for inland Vancouver Island.

An “unseasonably strong low-pressure system” made landfall on the Island this morning, and Environment Canada said it would be preceded by southeasterly winds of 40 kilometres an hour with gusts of up to 70 kilometres an hour.

After the storm hit, winds were expected pick up to 70 kilometres an hour with gusts of up to 90 km/h.

“Damage to buildings, such as to roof shingles and windows, may occur. Loose objects may be tossed by the wind and cause injury or damage. High winds may result in power outages and fallen tree branches,” Environment Canada said.

At Ogden Point, the Norweigan Sun cruise ship should be docked in a berth.

But it sailed past Victoria from Alaska, on route to Seattle, due to the weather.

It’s not the first time a cruise ship avoided the city this season due to the weather, according to Brian Cant, Director, Communications and Engagement, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority.

“I think we’ve had a handful of cancellations just due to the wind, and weather. it just happens to be that we haven’t really got a norma

Strong winds are expected to gradually ease tonight but gusts will persist overnight.

The wind was also causing issues for a south Island broadcaster.

100.3 The Q!’s transmitter lost power in the windstorm, resulting in the station losing the ability to broadcast on radio. However, listeners could still tune in to their streams online.

As of the lunch hour, The Q says things got back up and running.

One tree came down onto the Trans-Canada Highway near Thetis Lake, snarling traffic until the tree could be removed Wednesday afternoon.

In Saanich, a tree fell onto the Pat Bay Highway near Elk Lake in the morning, which caused traffic issues.

For BC Ferries, most sailings are continuing as scheduled, though some have delays.



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