Home Sections Weather Impacts South Vancouver Island power outages Jan 9

South Vancouver Island power outages Jan 9

First major windstorm of 2024 along with significant rainfall.

power outage, january 2024
Power outages in the South Vancouver Island Region as at 7 am on January 9, 2024. [BC Hydro / Google]

Tuesday January 9, 2024 | VICTORIA, BC [Last update 10:11 pm]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

After considerable rainfall and strong winds overnight, by 7 am today January 9 there were 10,776 BC Hydro customers without power in the South Vancouver Island region.

This is the first winter season storm of 2024.

jdf emerg, batteries, power outages

Areas without power as at 7 am are mostly coastal and open rural areas where trees are falling on or otherwise impacting power lines:

  • Most of those (3,246 addresses without power from 6:16 am) were on three of the Gulf Islands: Ganges, Pender Island, Saturna Island. With another 228 addresses listed for Saturna Island.
  • But also 1,211 households were without power in Metchosin and Sooke from 3:32 am onward due to trees across wires.
  • Plus another combined total of 2,684 premises without power through the wee hours in the Sooke and Juan de Fuca areas west of Sooke including Shirley and Port Renfrew.
  • North Saanich has 840 BC Hydro customers without power since 1:40 am with another 1,266 listed as without power in North Saanich and Sidney.
  • A combined area of Central Saanich, Highlands, Saanich and North Saanich has 326 customers without power as went out between 2:30 and 5:40 am.
  • Oak Bay has 28 customers without power in the Cordova Bay area.
  • Various parts of Duncan see a total of 373 households without power, as well as 44 in Chemanius.
east sooke, metchosin, power outage, map
Power outage started at 4:02 am on January 9, 2024 impacting 212 BC Hydro customers in Metchosin and East Sooke. [BC Hydro / Google]

Continuing into morning:

As of about 7:15 am and then 7:24 am there were another 100 outages in the Colwood and View Royal areas, and the total South Vancouver Island outage list showed 13,610 BC Hydro customers without power.

bc hydro, map, colwood, storm
A few households without power in the west shore area as of 8 am on Jan 9, 2024. [BC Hydro / Google]
  • As of 8 am, BC Hydro crews were shown as either assigned or on their way to sites requiring repair.
  • As of 8:23 am there were 35 outages with 15,172 customers affected, including 1,593 in Langford and Highlands.
  • By 8:43 am there were 15,999 customers without power on South Vancouver Island. That may have been the peak for outages, as by 9:29 am the total was down to 12,384, and then to 10,936 by 11:23 am (though still 38 outage locations to deal with).
  • By 11:33 am down to 8,943 customers without power in 37 outage locations.
  • At 12:47 pm there were still 6,324 customers without power (38 outages); about 2,652 of those (42%) are in the Sooke area.
  • At 1:23 pm 6,345 customers were without power (31 outages)
  • By 4:29 pm the number of outages was down to 25 with 3,932 customers getting no power (most still in the Sooke region).
  • At 10:09 pm the number of outages was further down to 18 with 1,754 customers awaiting power restoration (in the Sooke region as well as Highlands and Central Saanich.
sooke area, map, power outages
Power Outage locations in the Sooke region on Jan 9, 2024. [BC Hydro / Google maps]

BC Hydro generally deals with power restoration first for areas that serve the most customers.

Safety response in Sooke:

For public safety, Whiffin Spit Park was closed around 11:35 am this morning, says the District of Sooke.

whiffin spit, map, sooke
Whiffin Spit Park in Sooke. [map]

“High winds and tides are washing considerable debris, including large logs, ashore posing unsafe conditions. Crews are continuing to monitor and will reopen the park once weather calms and crews can restore the site properly,” said Communications Coordinator Christina Moog today.

district of sooke

Sooke Bluffs Park (near Eakin Park) was also closed today for safety (at 12:05 pm). Ella Road which leads to Ella Road Park in Sooke (near the water treatment plant) was closed for a while due to debris and flooding.

Dallas Road along the James Bay waterfront in Victoria was closed for part of the day after debris swept up on shore from the ocean.

Weather forecast:

For this evening, the Environment Canada weather forecast for Greater Victoria includes wind west 40 km/h gusting to 60 except 70 gusting to 100 near the water early this evening. The temperature low is expected to reach 3°C.

Temperatures are expected to drop on Wednesday, with snow in the forecast for Thursday.

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Upcoming winter weather impacts:

Due to the stress on trees during the heat dome in 2021 and the droughts of 2022 and 2023, trees may have loosened their grip in the soil, and could be more vulnerable to wind and the impact of flooding.

There is already concern about the likely drought conditions for spring and summer 2024 for having seen minimal rain in November and December 2023 (including no snow this 2023-2024 winter season to date).

Meanwhile, snow is in the forecast for starting Thursday this week (January 11) made possible by an expected inflow of Arctic air by Wednesday night.

Trees that fall onto power lines are a common cause of power outages to BC Hydro customers.

“Each storm is not isolated unto itself,” said BC Hydro Ted Olynyk told Island Social Trends in November 2023. Repeated stress on trees and the surrounding environment is usually cumulative. “The number of calls and storms have been increasing over the years,” he said.

Tree management:

Tree management is an ongoing undertaking by contractors for BC Hydro. The utility has vegetation coordinators and receive input from arborists.

district of metchosin

===== RELATED:

West shore power outage November 2, 2023 [Nov 2, 2023]


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