Violent overnight winds knocked out power Wednesday morning to thousands of customers across the Islands and Lower Mainland areas.
BC Hydro says that around 100,000 customers in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island the Gulf Islands and the Southern Interior this morning were affected. They added that more outages were expected as winds continued.
As of this publication, 19,597 are still without power on Southern Vancouver Island.
Environment Canada data shows wind speeds exceeding 100 km/h in Victoria Gonzales and Race Rocks.
The lowest speeds of 67 km/h and 70 km/h were recorded in West Vancouver and Tofino respectively.
Reported damage was extensive across Vancouver Island, with downed power lines causing a road closure on Highway 14 between Port Renfrew and Grant Road.
ROAD CLOSED: Highway 14, West Coast Road is closed from Grant Rd to Port Renfrew. Multiple trees and hydro lines down blocking the road. Check Drive BC for updates. @SookeRCMP @SookeFire @JdFSAR @DriveBC_VI
— Emcon Services Inc., South Island Division (@EmconSouthVI) January 13, 2021
Access to Sooke potholes was closed due to hazards from downed trees and powerlines. West Shore Parks also reported trees uprooted and knocked down by the wind.
The wind even led to at least one fire, with the Oak Bay Fire Department reporting that downed power lines had connected with a tree and ignited a blaze.
Oak Bay Fire Crews attended high voltage power lines that had ignited a nearby tree due to high winds early this morning. Crews maintained a large safety perimeter until very busy BC Hydro Crews could attend. Very dangerous, always stay well clear and call 911. pic.twitter.com/HtWF0a3Gg9
— OakBayFire (@OakBayFireDept) January 13, 2021
BC Hydro advised that downed power lines should be reported to 911 immediately and members of the public should stay at least 10 metres back from wires.
The energy service says that crews will be working throughout the day to safely restore power.