UPDATE: As of 9 a.m. Thursday, over 200 power outages on Vancouver Island are leaving around 17,000 BC Hydro customers in the dark. The complete outage list can be found here.
Across BC, the company says Wednesday’s heavy rains and strong winds left a total of 121,000 customers without power.
#BCStorm update: Today's storm brought heavy rains and strong winds leaving 121,000 customers without power. All available crews will be working through the night to restore power to affected customers. Updates here: https://t.co/mlmBYmbpBx pic.twitter.com/72xzvcRvUe
— BC Hydro (@bchydro) May 19, 2022
Hundreds of outages mean thousands impacted.
In Greater Victoria and across Vancouver Island, around 54,000 people are currently relying on sunshine as a wind storm blows in and cuts the electricity.
As of 1:50 p.m. Wednesday, over 24,000 BC Hydro customers on the South Island, including in Victoria, Saanich, View Royal, Colwood and Duncan, are without power.
Meanwhile, on central and northern Vancouver Island, nearly 30,000 are without power from Ladysmith all the way to Port Hardy.
For some outages, BC Hydro says crews have determined downed wires are to blame, but for most, the cause is under investigation and the estimated restore time is unknown.
It's windy out there! Crews are already responding to a few outages and we're expecting the heavy winds to continue in the #LowerMainland, #VancouverIsland & #SunshineCoast through the day. Get prepared in the event of an outage: https://t.co/v2ZuRdYTqZ #BCStorm pic.twitter.com/OIvLPfmhaR
— BC Hydro (@bchydro) May 18, 2022
Adverse weather conditions were expected.
On Monday, Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for all of Vancouver Island, including the capital region, with gusty winds to pick up Wednesday night.
This morning, however, the statement was upgraded to an island-wide wind warning, remaining in effect for Greater Victoria and East Vancouver Island, from Cowichan to Nanaimo, by the afternoon.
The weather agency says powerful and hazardous southeasterly winds will continue this evening, potentially gusting up to 90 km/h.
“Winds will gradually ease below warning criteria this evening but remain gusty overnight,” it added, noting damage to buildings may occur and loose objects could be tossed, with drivers urged to use extra caution.
Amid the warnings, three cruise ships set to arrive at Ogden Point today, including the Ruby Princess, Star Breeze and Norwegian Sun, have cancelled their scheduled stops, according to the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority.
Communications director Brian Cant says the Norweigan Sun faced cancellation due to the weather, while the other two ship calls had previously been scrapped due to itinerary changes.
This morning in Saanich, southbound lanes of the Pat Bay Highway at Elk Lake were briefly closed due to a fallen tree, prompting a traffic advisory from BC Transportation.