North Island ‘hardest hit’ with power outages Saturday: BC Hydro

North Island 'hardest hit' with power outages Saturday: BC Hydro
A file photo of BC Hydro crews.

Hydro has been restored to communities across Vancouver Island after strong winds cut power to thousands, predominantly on the North Island.

BC Hydro’s outage list as of Sunday says the power is back on for customers in Port Hardy, Port McNeill, Port Alice, Alert Bay and surrounding areas on the North Island after downed trees knocked down power lines and transmission circuits failed.

“The north part of the Island was the hardest hit area,” B.C.’s Hydro Ted Olynyk told CHEK News.

“We had transmission line outages, so it impacted all the communities north of Woss and the Gold River area.”

More than 10,000 customers across the Island were without power on Saturday, including many in the Triport area. Only there, the power was out for about 12 hours due to outages that happened around 10:30 a.m. and weren’t restored until 11 p.m. or so.

‘Gnarly conditions’ for Hydro crews

Olynyk says crews had to attend to some “pretty gnarly conditions,” especially out in the bush near Gold River.

“Considering the winds reported yesterday (Saturday) were up to 150 km/h, I believe, on the north part of the Island, we’re pretty fortunate with the limited damage that happened up there.”

The day prior, Environment Canada issued a wind warning for the North Island, saying strong winds were on the way.

But power outages happened across the Island, as well as the Gulf Islands.

“It was challenging getting to the northern Gulf Islands, and Quadra and Hornby as well. Obviously, with the high winds, ferries were impacted,” said Olynyk. “And we did have outages in the Ladysmith area, and Victoria.”

Wind warnings were also in effect for Greater Victoria and the Southern Gulf Islands, while snowfall advisories were active for other parts of Vancouver Island.

Downed trees and equipment failure were to blame for outages on Salt Spring, Mayne, Pender, Saturna and Gabriola islands, as well as in Campbell River, Qualicum Beach, Nanaimo, Ladysmith, Victoria and Saanich, according to the outage list.

A power outage in Oak Bay, meanwhile, left one person trapped in an elevator, and downed power lines forced crews to block off a street.

Now Olynyk’s reminding people to be prepared for outages.

“Fortunately, it wasn’t a huge storm, but it’s always a reminder to use to make sure you’re prepared and have your emergency kits, especially as we’re going into storm season,” he added. “We’re really hitting the stride in December and January, so make sure you’re prepared.”

BC Hydro has outage tips on its website.

READ ALSO: ‘First true test of winter’: Snow and high winds hit Vancouver Island Saturday


Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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