BC Hydro restores power to nearly all 220,000 customers impacted by windstorm

Click to play video: 'Major clean up after powerful B.C. wind storm' Major clean up after powerful B.C. wind storm
Major clean up after powerful B.C. wind storm – Jan 13, 2021

BC Hydro says crews have restored power to nearly all of its 220,000 customers who had power knocked out by the storm that hit Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, the Lower Mainland and the Southern Interior late Tuesday/early Wednesday morning.

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, about 30,000 customers remained without power, including about 13,900 in the Lower Mainland, 6,700 on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, and roughly 9,300 in the Southern Interior.

By 10:00 p.m. Wednesday, those numbers had been whittled down to 5,799 customers without power in the Lower Mainland/Sunshine Coast region, 4,510 in Okanagan/Kootenay, 2,380 in North Vancouver Island, and 1,454 in South Vancouver Island.

The utility says all available crews and contractor crews are working around-the-clock to restore power, and that some small pockets in each region may remain without power overnight due to the extensive damage to power lines, power poles and transformers.

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You can check BC Hydro’s site online for the latest outages here:

The areas hardest hit by the storm were Abbotsford, Victoria and Vernon.

Social media was abuzz after midnight Wednesday morning with residents reporting the sound of multiple trees and branches snapping, the flashes amid darkness of transformers blowing out across the region, and the freight train roar of the wind as it rattled homes and the nerves of startled residents.

A peak gust of 91 km/h was recorded at the Vancouver Airport with the cold frontal passage, just before 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.

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The storm closed six schools in Langley due to power outages.

BC Ferries cancelled a few sailings Wednesday morning with travellers advised to check the BC Ferries website before heading to the terminal.

An atmospheric river with moisture origins from as far away as the Philippines is responsible for the high winds that lashed through southern British Columbia, prompting widespread weather warnings.

Click to play video: 'Powerful storm moving across B.C. Wednesday' Powerful storm moving across B.C. Wednesday
Powerful storm moving across B.C. Wednesday – Jan 13, 2021

The low-pressure centre crossed southern Vancouver Island late Tuesday evening into the B.C. Interior overnight, with winds gusting southwest 70 km/h and higher after midnight.

Ahead of the low, winds up to southerly 50 to 70 km/h had been forecast for southwestern sections of Metro Vancouver Tuesday night, before shifting to westerly 50 to 70 km/h as the low made its way east of the city.

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Read more: Snowfall, winter storm warnings issued for mountain highways for B.C.’s Southern Interior

The strongest winds had been forecast to be southerly 70 km/h in the Boundary Bay area Tuesday evening, before switching to westerly 70 km/h over Metro Vancouver along the Strait of Georgia.

Behind the low, strong winds developing through Juan de Fuca Strait gave westerly winds of 70 km/h over areas of Greater Victoria near the strait.



Read more: Snowfall, winter storm warnings issued for mountain highways for B.C.’s Southern Interior

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Meanwhile, heavy snow was forecast for mountain highways east of Hope through Wednesday, with the Coquihalla expecting up to 25 cm.

Expect heavy snow & strong winds on interior mountain highways tonight through tomorrow.

Most lower-elevation regions will see just rain, except for regions north of Kamloops where 5 to 15 centimetres is possible.

Most of the Interior experienced strong gusty southwest winds Tuesday night of up 70 km/h, which continued into Wednesday afternoon.

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Click to play video: 'B.C. evening weather forecast: Jan. 12' B.C. evening weather forecast: Jan. 12
B.C. evening weather forecast: Jan. 12 – Jan 12, 2021

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