Tuesday December 22, 2020 | VANCOUVER ISLAND, BC [Update at 9:30 am December 23, 2020]
Mary P Brooke, editor | Island Social Trends
The first snowfall of the season on the first day of winter yesterday was a reminder for south Vancouver Island that Mother Nature means business.
Heavy, wet snow quickly saw over 36,000 customers on Vancouver Island without power by mid-morning on December 21.
As of 9:50 pm last night, there were still 13,937 BC Hydro customers without power in South Vancouver Island within 176 outage incidents. Affected areas included Central Saanich, Duncan, the Gulf Islands, Langford, Highlands, and west of Sooke. Updates will be posted soon this morning on the BC Hydro outages page.
A BC Hydro customer is a household or business. So the actual number of affected people is probably at least two-times greater than the numbers listed.
Outages during storms (wind, rain or snow) oftentimes result from trees toppling onto electrical distribution wires. Other causes for outages include birds contacting hydro wires, or simply failures of mechanical equipment.
To prepare your home and family for a possible outage, check out this guide to emergency preparedness.
Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow. Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become difficult to navigate due to accumulating snow. There may be a significant impact on rush hour traffic in urban areas.
Weather alerts and forecasts are issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to BCstorm@canada.ca or tweet reports using #BCStorm.
Updates can be found on the Environment Canada website – VICTORIA.
This first winter storm also impacted the BC lower mainland area. As of 9:50 pm last night 24,426 BC Hydro customers were without power. In the north Vancouver Island area 1,771 customers were without power heading into the overnight.
Outages could be even more difficult to deal with if people are self-isolating at home due to COVID exposure. As of 3 pm December 21, there were 9,651 people self-isolating across BC due to COVID exposure.
Getting through this safely:
BC Hydro appreciates the patience of their customers as crews work to repair the damage and restore electrical service.
The utility asks that members of the public follow physical distancing guidelines (as required by Public Health Order during the COVID-19 pandemic) and provide crews with the space they need to complete their work safely.
A downed power line is considered an emergency situation. People should stay at least 10 metres back and call 9-1-1 immediately. BC Hydro crews will work together with first responders to make the area safe.
For up-to-date outage information, including restoration times, see bchydro.com/outages.
Update Dec 23: BC Hydro reported at 6:30 am on Wednesday December 23 that 99 percent of customers who had been impacted by the snowstorm have seen their electrical power restored. Crews restored power to over 240,000 customers that were impacted by the storm that on Monday December 21 hit Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, Lower Mainland and southern Interior.