A fallen fence in Ladysmith yesterday afternoon is a more ordinary example of the sort of widespread property damage caused across the Island by yesterday’s windstorm (Gerry Beltgens photo)

More than 90,000 remain without power on Vancouver Island

BC Hydro working around the clock in the wake of most severe windstorm in years

Much of Vancouver Island is waking to the cold and dark this morning in the aftermath of one of the most severe storms in years.

Nearly 90,000 customers remain without power as of 5 a.m. after high winds yesterday morning and afternoon cut through communities, knocking out power for more than 200,000 BC Hydro customers from Campbell River to Tofino to Sooke.

The coroner is investigating a death in Duncan that happened near the black bridge and is believed to be connected to the storm. Transportation was snarled both on land and on sea — including the closure of Highway 4 on either side of Port Alberni — and property damage was widespread.

It could be days before power returns for some.

“Yesterday’s windstorm was one of the most severe storms BC Hydro has experienced in years, causing extensive damage to electrical infrastructure across Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley,” states BC Hydro website.

“All available crews and resources will be working around the clock until all damage is repaired. Due to the extent of the damage, many customers will be without power overnight and for some customers it could be days. We appreciate your patience and will continue to provide updates as available.”

As of the storm’s peak yesterday afternoon, some of the hardest hit areas were Nanaimo (36,000 customers), Victoria (34,000 customers) and Duncan (30,000 customers without power)

RELATED: City of Nanaimo asks residents to conserve water after storm

RELATED: Thousands of BC Hydro customers without power in Greater Victoria

RELATED: Winds whip up havoc across Nanaimo region

RELATED: 28,000 to 29,000 without power in Cowichan Valley; more winds expected

“Crews made significant progress overnight and have restored power to 400,000 customers since the windstorm began Thursday morning. About 160,000 customers in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Sunshine Coast, Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands remain without power.” said Hydro spokesperson Mora Scott in a 6 a.m. update

“Additional crews are being brought in from other parts of the province to assist with restoration efforts as severe damage remains. Crews are scheduled to be on the first ferries this morning to Vancouver Island, which remain the hardest hit region. BC Hydro also plans to perform helicopter patrols to survey damage to its transmission infrastructure from the air.”

As of 9 p.m. last night, BC Hydro was reporting about 260,000 customers without power in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Sunshine Coast and on Vancouver Island. That was after BC Hydro has safely restored power to more than 240,000 customers.

“Winds up to 100 kilometres an hour in some areas have resulted in damage to more than 750 spans of wire, 270 poles, 400 cross-arms and 150 transformers,” Scott said at the time.

“There are more than 550 field staff working to restore power, and crews will be working around-the-clock until all damage is repaired.”

Priority repairs include damage that presents an immediate danger like live wires across roads or near homes, as well as restoring circuits to critical services like hospitals.

From there, BC Hydro will make repairs to high-voltage transmission lines and substations as this will bring the most customers back as quickly as possible. For example, a circuit serving 5,000 customers will be restored before restoring a line that serves 50 customers.

This story will be updated throughout the day.

— with files from Black Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Campbell River highlights benefits of fitness programs for ‘older adults’

New video features participants telling their own stories of how classes improved their lives

Search for missing Cortes Island man approaches two-week mark

RCMP remind Cortes Islanders to check properties and outbuilding for signs of unusual activity

VIDEO: Campbell River teen’s Make-A-Wish send-off fit for a galaxy not so far away

Mattias Beck, 15, received an extra special start for Make-A-Wish trip

SD72 raises alarm on fraudulent fundraiser in Campbell River

Someone has been using a Carihi trip to Guatemala to solicit money in the community, the school district says

Campbell River filmmaker brings his new film to local festival

Damien Gillis’ Shadow Trap screens at Tidemark Tuesday, Feb. 25 as part of CRFF

Fashion Fridays: The 8 best quality online stores! Shop the ultimate sales

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Petition slams Victoria councillor who chastised police after Wetsuweten protest

Ben Isitt calls effort to get him suspended is not a ‘reliable barometer of public opinion’

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Suspect at large after stealing seaplane before crashing into another in Vancouver

Police responded to the incident at 3:30 a.m. on Friday at Vancouver Harbour

PHOTOS: 2020 BC Winter Games kick off in Fort St. John

More than 1,000 of B.C.’s best athletes will be competing over the next three days

Meet the Wet’suwet’en who want the Coastal GasLink pipeline

Supporters of the pipeline are upset only one side is being heard nationwide

Shopping cart collector at B.C. Costco awarded $583,000 after getting pinned by car

Kurtis Ryan Burdeniuk, 22, was retrieving carts when a driver backed into him in the parking lot

‘Usain Bolt he was not’: B.C. gang police seize drugs, cash after foot chase

‘The man took off running when he saw our officers approaching,’ CFSEU BC says

Most Read