Thousands of people on Vancouver Island are without power Wednesday after strong winds led to damaged power lines, according to BC Hydro.
The company says more than 16,000 customers in the Island region remain without power, primarily in Cowichan Valley, but also in Greater Victoria, Nanaimo, Parksville, Qualicum Beach and several Gulf Islands, including Gabriola, Galiano, Main, Pender, Salt Spring and Saturna islands.
BC Hydro’s outage list, updated around 10 a.m., comes after Environment Canada issued a special weather statement Tuesday covering Greater Victoria and other parts of the Island, saying 30 to 50 millimetres of rain was expected.
“The wind knocked down trees and branches, causing them to come into contact with BC Hydro’s electrical equipment,” says BC Hydro.
“As a result, crews have been busy repairing damaged power lines, poles and other equipment.”
Some schools on the Island are closed Wednesday due to outages, including two schools in School District 68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith:
Due to a power outage, LPS and LSS will be closed for today (Oct 25).
If your child has already left for school, please make arrangements to pick up your child this morning, if possible. Staff are onsite to ensure the safety of students who are not able to be picked up. pic.twitter.com/QqPiSYwzc0
— School District 68 (Nanaimo-Ladysmith) (@sd68bc) October 25, 2023
Crews are working to restore the power.
At the height of the outages, nearly 100,000 people in B.C., including on the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast, Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands, were affected, according to BC Hydro
It says crews worked overnight and restored power to more than 69,000 customers, but as of 8:30 a.m., about 26,000 were still without power.
“Additional crews will arrive on the first ferries to the Gulf Islands this morning to aid in restoration efforts,” says BC Hydro in an outage condition update.
Crews are also receiving reports of downed power lines, which the company calls “an emergency.”
“Call 911 and stay at least 10 metres back. BC Hydro crews will work with first responders to make the area safe,” it adds.
BC Hydro posts updates here.
#BCStorm update: High winds and heavy rain caused damage to our system and outages to nearly 100,000 customers on the South Coast and Vancouver Island. Crews will work throughout the day to restore the remaining 26,000 customers. Operational update: https://t.co/pjlwd93qL4 pic.twitter.com/fq32OhG0cG
— BC Hydro (@bchydro) October 25, 2023