August 30, 2015 11:39 am
Updated: August 31, 2015 12:21 am

Metro Vancouver begins clean-up as windstorm leaves thousands without power


WATCH: The windstorm is over in Metro Vancouver – but the cleanup has just begun. Jeremy Hunka reports. 

Metro Vancouver began cleaning up after a major windstorm caused chaos in southwestern B.C. on Saturday. Thousands of homes are still without power and fallen trees and other debris are still scattered across roads.

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PHOTOS: Largest South Coast storm in a decade causes mass power outages

BC Hydro crews are working to restore power after one of the worst summer storms they’ve seen in years.

The electric utility said up to 500,000 customers lost power at some point Saturday, with the bulk of the outages occurring in the Greater Vancouver Area. That number is down to 180,000 as of Sunday afternoon. Hydro officials say power will likely not be fully restored until early Monday.

WATCH: Full coverage of the storms that caused power outages for approximately 500,000 customers 

BC Hydro’s Greg Reimer said a crew of about 400, including workers brought in from Prince George, Smithers, Kamloops and Vancouver Island, is assisting in the restoration.

Spokeswoman Simi Heer said crews are working to repair broken structures and damaged wires as well as 25 different transmission circuits, each of which impacts thousands of customers.

Update on power outages

BC Hydro provided the following updates on Sunday:

The power outages have forced countless Metro Vancouver residents to improvise.

David Dyer of Surrey has been without power since about noon Saturday and tried to make the most of the disruption.

“It’s been like camping indoors,” said Dyer. “I’ve been around for other power shortages, so I’m used to being resourceful. We used the barbecue for cooking and stuff like that.”

Dyer and his wife spent Saturday night reading books and playing board games by candlelight.

Like many residents without power, they are concerned about the food in their refrigerator, with Dyer recommending that “people don’t open the freezer or the fridge.”

READ MORE: What you need to know about food storage in a power outage

Crews work to clear roads

Heavy rain caused localized flooding Saturday night. On West Cordova Street and Powell Street in downtown Vancouver, water pooled on roads creating dangerous driving conditions. Traffic lights are still down at around 60 to 70 intersections across the region, forcing drivers to follow the four-way stop procedure.

City crews are working to clean the streets of fallen trees and other debris.

READ MORE: Was your car damaged in the B.C. windstorm? Here’s what you need to know.

Taryn Scollard of the City of Vancouver said the priority is “clearing all the major routes…then moving on to the smaller residential streets. We prioritize locations based on traffic and bus routes and then we’ll be getting to the smaller residential streets after that.”

City staff are reminding residents to clear leaves from any storm drains and catch basins near their property as more rain and winds are in the forecast.

TransLink reported several problems due to the storm but service is back to normal on most routes. Trains are running to all stations, but several buses have been delayed and re-routed as crews work to clear roads.

The cost of the extensive property damage and the bill for cleaning up the huge mess have yet to be tallied.

-With files from Canadian Press

© 2015 Shaw Media

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