Over 30,000 hydro customers were without power on Vancouver Island following strong winds over Friday night.

“Our son came running in and said you gotta see this, and we looked out and there was a tree,” said Esquimalt resident Tim Green who woke up to a fully uprooted tree staring at him through his window.

Across the southern island, the scene was the same.

In View Royal another massive tree toppled over, catching a smart car on its way down, and in Saanich, live wires hung like skipping ropes across a street near Cordova Bay.

But Sooke was the worst hit. Multiple trees fell over highway 14, closing the main throughway in both directions for the majority of the day.

“It just down came the tree and snapped off the pole. Zap zap went the transformer there in the middle of the road,” said Al Wickheim who witnessed the tree fall.

B.C. Hydro says they anticipated the storm and pre-deployed crews to areas like the Southern Gulf Islands to help speed up restoration efforts.

Additional crews are being brought down from the North Island to help.

And people were okay to wait.

“I’ve got a ton of respect for the BC Hydro guys that come and work on this stuff because it’s dangerous stuff and it’s always under miserable conditions,” said Wickheim.

BC Hydro is also issuing an urgent message to the public that if they are experiencing an outage to turn off all electronics and leave one light on. 

This is due to an issue called cold-low pickup. When power is restored it then has to make its way to all electronics and appliances drawing power, if there are too many this can trip out the system are require crews to go back and isolate the impacted section of wire. 

The public should turn down their heat and can leave one light on for between 15-20 minutes before they can turn everything back on.

B.C. Hydro says everyone should be back on the grid by tonight, but it is too early to say definitively.

Most of the impacted customers are on the South Island in the CRD. Across B.C. There were around 68,000 without power.

“We understand that when without power you want to turn everything back on, but please wait about 15 minutes to let the system stabilize,” said B.C. Hydro spokesperson Ted Olynyk.

“[If not] it makes it more challenging for the crews.”

Updates on outages and restoration times can be found here

 

CHEK News