About 30,000 remain without power in wake of wind storm across southern BC

86% have power restored

UPDATE 5:20 p.m.

BC Hydro says it has restored power to 86 per cent of customers impacted by Wednesday morning's wind storm.

The provider states they've restored power to 190,000 customers at this time. 

As of 5 p.m., about 30,000 customers are without power:

  • About 13,900 in the Lower Mainland.
  • About 6,700 on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.
  • About 9,300 in the Southern Interior.

All available crews and contractor crews are working to restore power but they say the damage is extensive.

"At this time, BC Hydro anticipates the vast majority of its customers will have power tonight; however, some small pockets in each region will be without power overnight due to the extensive damage," says the utility. 

UPDATE 3:25 p.m.

BC Hydro crews have arrived on scene to help remove a fallen tree and restore power to residences along Eastside Road.

The tree and power lines fell across a portion of Eastside Road early Wednesday morning, due to a strong windstorm that led to power outages and downed trees across much of the Valley.

Eastside Road, just south of Russell Road, is expected to be reopened to traffic by 5 p.m. Russell Road is now accessible to traffic.

The timeline for power to be restored to the area is currently unknown.

UPDATE: 11:35 a.m.

BC Hydro says it has restored power to 67 per cent of customers impacted by this morning's wind storm.

"Crews continue to make good progress and have restored power to more than 142,000 customers of the 212,000 customers impacted by the windstorm on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, Lower Mainland and the Southern Interior," the utility says.

About 70,000 customers remain without power.

  • About 30,000 in the Lower Mainland, primarily in Abbotsford and Chilliwack.
  • About 15,000 on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, primarily in Victoria and Duncan.
  • About 25,000 in the Southern Interior, primarily in Vernon.

"There is extensive damage caused by branches and trees breaking and coming into contact with BC Hydro’s electrical infrastructure," says Hydro. 

"Planning through the night ensured all available BC Hydro crews and contractor crews have been mobilized. They will continue working around the clock to repair damaged power lines, poles and transformers to restore the power."

UPDATE: 9:35 a.m.

Power has been restored at Big White Ski Resort after a tree fell across a power line overnight during the B.C.-wide windstorm. 

The outage has delayed the opening of the mountain Wednesday morning, but with the power now restored, staff are working to get the lifts up and running. 

UPDATE: 9:25 a.m.

A tree and power lines have fallen across Eastside Road near the turn off to Russell Road in Vernon, causing a temporary closure of both roads. 

The City of Vernon says Vernon Fire Rescue and Public Works crews are on scene as the tree is being removed. 

The roads will remain closed for the safety of the public and emergency responders while the power lines are repaired and the area is cleared.

No injuries have been reported at this time.

UPDATE: 9 a.m.

The widespread power outage has impacted Big White Ski Resort, keeping the chair lifts from spinning Wednesday morning. 

"The lifts will not run on back-up diesel power, as we need electricity to de-ice at the top and to open the lifts properly," Big White Vice-president Michael J. Ballingall posted to Facebook. 

Ballingall says the outage on the mountain was caused by a fallen tree near the bottom of the Ridge Rocket Express Chair. 

Fortis is on scene and the resort hopes to have the power back on some time around 9 a.m.

UPDATE: 8:55 a.m.

The latest wicked weather to sweep across southern British Columbia downed trees and power lines in many areas and left thousands in the dark.

Environment Canada says wind gusts topped 100 km/h in Victoria and the eastern Fraser Valley at the height of the storm early Wednesday.

It had moved into the Southern Interior by dawn, prompting special weather statements across the region while BC Hydro reported more than 100,000 customers lost power, with the hardest hit areas in Abbotsford, Victoria and Vernon.

The weather office says winds ended over Metro Vancouver overnight and were expected to ease in the Interior by afternoon, but Hydro warned it could be several hours before crews could be assigned to some outages.

The storm also dumped snow across the Central Interior with the Columbia, Shuswap and Yoho regions expected to receive as much as another 25 centimetres of snow before the system passes.

The weather office also says a new storm is approaching B.C.'s North Coast and a wind warning has been issued for Haida Gwaii, with gusts up to 100 km/h due to lash that region through Thursday.

– The Canadian Press

UPDATE: 8:45 a.m.

FortisBC says is working to restore power to about 2,100 customers in the Kelowna area.

According to the company's website, those affected are in the Big White area.

The outage was caused due to damage inflicted on the electrical system by the overnight windstorm.

A few hundred residents in the Clifton Road and Upper Mission areas are also without power.

Power is expected to be restored later this morning.

UPDATE: 7:10 a.m.

BC Hydro says strong winds have left about 100,000 customers without power across southern B.C.

The hardest hit areas are Abbotsford, Victoria and Vernon, the utility says in a press release.

"As the storm is moving its way across the province, its causing extensive damage to BC Hydro’s electrical system due to branches and trees breaking contacting its equipment. More outages are expected as a result of the wind," says Hydro.

"All available resources will continue to work throughout the day to safely restore power."

The utility warns the public to stay at least 10 metres back from any downed power lines and to call 911 immediately.

ORIGINAL: 6:30 a.m.

Numerous power outages are reported across the Southern Interior as high winds batter much of southern B.C. this morning.

Outages in the Thompson-Okanagan span from Kamloops, through the Shuswap, Okanagan, Similkameen and Kootenays, affecting tens of thousands of customers.

Environment Canada has issued a strong wind warning across southern B.C. as a low pressure system moves through B.C. and into Alberta.

In the wake of the low, strong west to southwesterly winds with gusts up to 70 km/h can be expected. Winds are expected to ease this afternoon.

Loose objects may be tossed by the wind and cause injury or damage, Environment Canada warns. 

The special weather statement is in place for the Thompson and Okanagan.

In the Okanagan-Kootenays region, 8,892 customers are without power, and another 8,135 in the Thompson-Shuswap.

At the coast, 53,455 customers are affected in the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast, with a further 22,943 without power on Vancouver Island.

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