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Wind storm - thousands without power

A wicked wind storm has toppled trees and snapped power lines, cutting electricity to nearly 16,000 customers across northern BC.

The hardest hit area is in the northeastern corner of the province, with nearly 6,000 customers in the dark early Wednesday morning from Dawson Creek to Fort St. John, while thousands more are affected in Tumbler Ridge, Chetwynd and Hudson's Hope.

BC Hydro estimates the lights won't be back on again in many areas until mid to late afternoon but temperatures in the region remain unusually mild, with an average forecast high of three degrees.

A wind warning for the South Peace River region remains in effect with Environment Canada predicting gusts of up to 90 km/h, but wind speeds of 126 km/h were clocked at the Fort St. John airport late Tuesday night.

Powerful winds have also caused problems on area highways, with travel advisories in effect due to strong crosswinds while Highway 49 is closed in both directions east of Dawson Creek because of downed power lines.

Travel on other routes through northern and northwestern B.C. is also disrupted, with the Nisga'a Highway, Highway 51 from Telegraph Creek and Highways 37 and 37A around Meziadin closed by a high avalanche hazard or debris on the road. 

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