Strong winds, heavy rain knock out power to hundreds of thousands in B.C.


As many as 330,000 BC Hydro customers lost power at some point overnight Friday, as strong winds and heavy rains knocked down trees weakened by this summer’s severe drought.

The utility says as of 9 a.m. Saturday, 129,000 customers were still without electricity on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, the Sunshine Coast and the Lower Mainland.

The hardest hit areas included Surrey, Victoria, Nanaimo, Qualicum and Parksville.

Crews have been working throughout the night to repair damaged power lines, hydro poles and other equipment in order to restore electricity to all customers.

“Clean up work is expected to continue throughout the day,” the Crown corporation said in a statement Saturday morning.

“Because of the extensive damage, repair work may take some time and could continue into tomorrow, especially for customers in more remote areas. However, crews are working as quickly as possible to get the largest number of customers restored as soon as possible.”

Firefighters deal with a downed tree on power lines in Burnaby Friday night. (CTV)

Environment Canada had issued wind warnings Friday evening, forecasting gusts of up to 90 km/h. Those warnings were lifted overnight.

The high winds followed the third atmospheric river to hit the province in a little over a week.

The latest storm brought rain and snow on Thursday and Friday before the wind picked up.

Preliminary rainfall totals from 8 a.m. Thursday to 11 p.m. Friday, as reported by Environment Canada, ranged from 45.9 millimetres in Squamish to 79.9 millimetres in the Howe Sound village of Port Mellon.

Vancouver Harbour saw 54.6 millimetres of rain during the storm, while West Vancouver saw 69.1.

In the Interior, Kelowna got 12 centimetres of snow, as did the Coquihalla Summit.

By far the highest snowfall total in the province, according to Environment Canada, was at Pennask Summit on Highway 97C, where 70 centimetres were reported.

The highest wind gusts in the province during the storm were 118 km/h, recorded at Point Atkinson in West Vancouver. That was also the approximate speed of the fastest gust recorded on the Trial Islands south of Vancouver Island.

Gonzales Bay in Victoria saw wind speeds up to 100 km/h, and Vancouver International Airport saw top speeds of 94.

A downed tree is seen on Parker Street in East Vancouver on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022. (Submitted)

The high winds led BC Ferries to cancel several sailings between the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island.

One sailing between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen was delayed because of the weather, but no sailings between the Island and the Lower Mainland were cancelled.

With files from The Canadian Press 


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