December 19, 2017 2:45 pm
Updated: December 19, 2017 5:29 pm

Snowstorm on Vancouver Island leaves thousands without power

Crews in Nanaimo have been plowing snow since early Tuesday morning. They are also urging motorists to drive cautiously as conditions are expected to get worse.


A snowstorm that hit Vancouver Island Tuesday morning has left thousands of BC Hydro customers without power.

In the south, power is out in areas of Saanich, Colwood, Langford, Metchosin, Sooke, Duncan, Ganges, Lake Cowichan, North Cowichan and Victoria.

In the northern area, customers in Ladysmith, Nanaimo and Qualicum Beach are also affected.

BC Hydro says all available resources are out working to restore power as quickly as possible but difficult conditions and extensive damage mean that some customers may experience longer outage durations. Individual restoration times may vary and will be provided once full damage assessments are completed.

Customers should check the BC Hydro website for full details on restoration times.

On Oak Bay Avenue in Victoria, a retaining wall has now collapsed. Traffic is closed eastbound and will likely remain so for a few days.

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READ MORE: Snowfall warnings for B.C. as storm moves in: drivers warned about highway travel

Snowfall warnings are in effect for Victoria, inland Vancouver Island and east Vancouver Island from Duncan to Nanaimo and Nanoose Bay to Fanny Bay.

In Victoria, rain is expected at sea level but higher elevation routes, including the Malahat, will get five to 10 centimetres of snow today with another five centimetres this evening.

On eastern Vancouver Island, rain is also expected near the coast but higher elevations inland will get up to 10 centimetres today. Another two to five centimetres is expected this evening.

For inland regions, 10 to 15 centimetres is forecast to fall over southern sections, especially near Lake Cowichan. Another five centimetres is expected Tuesday night.

Some flights to and from Victoria Airport are delayed or cancelled Tuesday. Travellers are advised to check the status of their flight before heading to the airport.

Schools in SD 79, in the Cowichan Valley, are sending students home early today.

All schools will remain open and staffed until every single child has been picked up or is safely on a bus. If a child is not able to return home before the end of the school day, they will remain in the care of the school.

Buses will begin running at 11:30 a.m. Students can be picked-up from school at any time. Bus students who are remaining at school until the end of the day will be sent home on their usual bus routes.

Elementary schools will be contacting parents or emergency contacts directly regarding how to get your child safely home. This is beginning immediately. The school district says children will not be sent anywhere without verbal confirmation of where they are to be dropped off, or who is picking them up. Buses will be available if needed.

Secondary students will be dismissed, as per usual practice. Parents will be notified through the usual electronic messaging from the school. Students requiring specific transportation needs will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Students in School District 69, Qualicum, are also being sent home early due to power outages.

This affects the following schools:

  • Kwalikum Secondary School
  • Arrowview Elementary
  • Errington Elementary
  • L’Ecole Oceanside Elementary
  • Nanoose Bay Elementary

All other sites across the district are on a two-and-a-half hour early dismissal – staff coordination will take place at the school level to ensure staff are on site until all students are dismissed.​

Snow in Nanaimo. Credit: Dey Matte

Stanley in Nanaimo. Credit: Nicole Wood MacDonald

Snow in Duncan. Credit: Tina Turan

Nanaimo snow. Credit: Kim D Kilbreth Jr.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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