BC Hydro said December’s windstorm was the most damaging in the Crown utility’s history.
The Dec. 20 storm left more than 750,000 customers without power, making it larger than the August 2015 windstorm that affected the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, and the 2006 windstorm that hit Vancouver Island and devastated Stanley Park in Vancouver.
BC Hydro said in a report that the storm was unlike any other they’ve seen. Winds topped 100 km/h in some areas with gusts coming from several directions, including the southeast, south and southwest. In addition, the strong winds were preceded by several spells of heavy rainfall, which destabilized trees.
Globalnews.ca coverage of the B.C. windstorm
The storm damaged a record amount of hydro infrastructure, including 86,000 metres of damaged power line, 390 damaged power poles and 3,200 pieces of electrical equipment.
Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands were the hardest hit, with power outages affecting more than 80 per cent of customers in those areas.
BC Hydro’s efforts to dig out of the storm were the largest in its history, with more than 900 field workers working to restore power.
WATCH: BC Hydro says December’s windstorm was unlike any other the Crown utility has ever seen. Jordan Armstrong reports.
More than 550,000 customers had their power back within 24 hours of the storm, with the last impacted customers getting their power restored on Dec. 31.
The utility says it is looking to improve its response to major storms and hopes to use new technologies — such as improved meteorological models and new mobile dispatch tools — to restore power more quickly.