Thousands without power as windstorm hits Vancouver Island Tuesday

WatchThe most powerful windstorm of this fall so far has downed trees, left fields underwater and has knocked out power to thousands of BC Hydro customers on B.C.'s south coast. Skye Ryan reports.

Tuesday’s windstorm has led to numerous power outages across Vancouver Island and other parts of the province.

The majority of Vancouver Island was under a wind warning Tuesday morning. By the afternoon, some of the warnings had been lifted and after 5 p.m. PDT, all the warnings were no longer in place.

According to Environment Canada, a potent low-pressure system caused strong, gusty northwesterly or westerly winds of 40 to 60 km/h gusting to 90 km/h.

The public was asked to avoid wooded areas to prevent injury from falling trees or branches. Campers were advised to move to sturdy shelters.

As of Tuesday evening, thousands of BC Hydro customers are without power on Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands.

The severe winds have resulted in trees toppling all across the Island, including one in the 1800-block of Neil Street in Saanich and one near Central Park in Victoria.

Trees were also knocked down in Cobble Hill and roughly 200 customers are without power in the area.

Also in the Cowichan Valley, a tree reportedly fell on a vehicle along the Trans-Canada Highway. No one was hurt according to witnesses, who told CHEK News the incident happened in the southbound lanes of the highway near Koksilah Road.

According to BC Hydro, tens of thousands of BC Hydro customers are without power across Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, and the Sunshine Coast.

The hardest-hit areas include Qualicum, Courtenay, Abbotsford and Chilliwack.

About 176,000 customers in total have been impacted since midnight, BC Hydro said, and crews are working to restore power to around 76,000 customers as the storm has worked its way from Vancouver Island across the South Coast. 

As of 4:30 p.m. PT, there are currently about 99,000 customers without power.

BC Hydro said there is extensive damage caused by branches and trees breaking and coming into contact with BC Hydro’s electrical infrastructure. All available BC Hydro crews and contractor crews are working around-the-clock to repair damaged power lines, poles and transformers to restore the power.

BC Hydro is still receiving reports of downed power lines and is reminding the public a downed power line is considered an emergency situation. Members of the public should stay at least 10 metres back and call 911 immediately.

To monitor the status of power outages, Vancouver Islanders can visit the BC Hydro outage map on the organization’s website.

There are also some road closures due to downed hydro lines and trees on roads. For more, visit DriveBC.

The high winds have also resulted in BC Ferries cancelling several sailings on Tuesday morning.

According to BC Ferries, both the 5:15 a.m. sailing and the 7:45 a.m. sailing from Tsawwassen to Duke Point have been cancelled.

The ferry company has also cancelled sailings on the Port McNeill-Sointula-Alert Bay route and the Hornby Island-Denman Island route.

In addition to the cancellations, BC Ferries says that other sailings have been delayed as a result of the adverse weather as well, including along the Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay route.

Ferry travellers can stay up to date with the current service advisories by visiting BC Ferries’ website.

This article will be updated regularly as more information becomes available. 

Graham CoxGraham Cox
Nicholas PescodNicholas Pescod
Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman
Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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