Parked vehicles along Oak Street are in line with a fallen tree during Tuesday’s windstorm. (Photo by Elisabeth Gelb)

Parked vehicles along Oak Street are in line with a fallen tree during Tuesday’s windstorm. (Photo by Elisabeth Gelb)

Power outages affect thousands during Tuesday windstorm

Service was still being restored in some cases well into Wednesday

Heavy winds battered the B.C. Coast Tuesday, knocking down trees and knocking out power in numerous communities, including many locations around the Chemainus Valley. Some parts of the area remained without power Wednesday morning, as BC Hydro crews scrambled to reach the abundant outages and restore service.

BC Hydro reported Wednesday morning crews made great progress, working through the night, but it’s been a huge chore to clear lines from fallen trees and make additional repairs to equipment in some cases.

Hydro said all customers were expected to have power restored by Wednesday evening.

Parts of Chemainus, Crofton and Westholme were among the hardest hit on the South Island.

The Westholme and Crofton areas saw 2,100 without power on Tuesday afternoon. In Chemainus, more than 2,000 customers lost power.

The power went off in an area east of Mount Sicker Road, north of Westholme Road and south of Hastings Road at 1:08 p.m. Tuesday. A crew wasn’t scheduled to arrive until Wednesday at 10 a.m. to clear a tree across wires.

The Crofton area north of Robert Street, south of Mann Street and west of Crofton Road only had the power go off at 1:50 a.m. Wednesday and a crew had been assigned to handle the repairs.

All around the area there were trees down and power out, starting in the early afternoon as winds whipped up to as much as 80-90 kilometres per hour.

A tree fell on Oak Street in the vicinity of 49th Parallel Grocery. More extensive work was required there to replace a pole and wires by the roundabout. The 49th Parallel Grocery was closed for a while Wednesday morning until power was restored.

There were also trees reported down on Arbutus Street, Pine Street and just north of Dogwood Road that blocked traffic for a while and affected numerous customers. The power was also off in the Chemainus Road area south of Chemainus, Henry Road, Askew Creek, Panorama Ridge, Laurel Street and too many others to mention.

The best place in Chemainus to be was along Victoria Road west of the train tracks where most residences did not lose power at all.

Much of Crofton and Westholme were without power for an extended period, at least into the late evening and Wednesday morning in some cases. A tree down across wires north of Herd Road affected 1,585 customers in those areas.

Keith Rush on Thetis Island reported the power was out there from 2-3 hours, starting around 12:45 p.m. It was a similar story on Penelakut Island, with Josh James reporting a power outage there lasted from 12:30 p.m. to about 4 p.m.

It’s the worst windstorm since the great and now legendary storm just before Christmas of 2018 left Chemainus without power for several days.

Windy and rainy weather caused problems in other parts of the Cowichan Valley on Tuesday. BC Hydro reported several outages across the region, impacting thousands of customers, and numbers rose throughout the afternoon as fire departments were called out to a new scene every 10-15 minutes to deal with toppled trees, many of which took down power and other utility lines.

BC Hydro said it appreciated customers’ patience as repair work continued. Updated estimates for power restoration when they become available are provided at bchydro.com/outages.

The significant windstorm hit hard as well on the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Gulf Islands and Sunshine Coast and led to power outages for tens of thousands of BC Hydro customers.

About 176,000 customers in total were impacted, and crews worked hard to restore power to about 76,000 customers as the storm worked its way from Vancouver Island across the South Coast.

BC Hydro reminds the public a downed power line is considered an emergency situation. People should stay at least 10 metres back and call 911 immediately.

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Oak Street was closed for a time from Fir Street to the roundabout due to a fallen tree and debris on the road Tuesday. (Photo by Elisabeth Gelb)

Oak Street was closed for a time from Fir Street to the roundabout due to a fallen tree and debris on the road Tuesday. (Photo by Elisabeth Gelb)