Storm knocks out power to thousands on Vancouver Island ahead of Sunday’s ‘major’ event

Storm knocks out power to thousands on Vancouver Island ahead of Sunday's 'major' event
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Wild winds knocked windsurfers around like bobbers on the water off French Creek Thursday, as the first in a trio of storms hit BC’s south coast.

Windsurfer Ola Mau said he couldn’t wait to get out and join them.

“Exciting. Totally exciting,” said Mau.

The retiree said he lives for days like Thursday, yet with winds bringing gusts of up to 100 km/h from the southeast, the weather was strong enough to bring trees down on power lines from Sooke to the North Island.

Over 2300 homes and businesses were in the dark at the height of the storm as power outages occurred up and down the Island.

The 500 residents of Sointula on Malcolm Island had to wait several hours for BC Hydro crews to arrive after BC Ferries cancelled sailings due to the dangerous weather.

“Pre-deploying is very challenging. It’s up to mother nature at the end of the day, a storm can literally turn on a dime,” said BC Hydro Spokesperson Ted Olynyk.

BC Hydro has already been preparing for Sunday’s storm as the modelling of that low-pressure system suggested it could rival the big storm of December 2018, which brought the biggest power outage in BC Hydro’s history.

“We had hundreds of thousands of customers out, some for multiple days, just an incredible amount of damage from Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, the Lower Mainland,” said Olynyk.

So officials urged Island residents to get ready.

“What it looks like out in the Pacific now, this could be a pretty major event that we should be prepared for,” said Olynyk.

A second storm is expected Saturday, before the big low that could cause major outages and storm surge is forecast to hit the coast on Sunday night.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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