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Suddenly windy Wednesday

Strong winds suddenly came up May 18 for Vancouver Island | Power out for 23,247 BC Hydro customers (2:25 pm)

Wednesday May 18, 2022 | LANGFORD, BC [Last update 10:50 am May 19, 2022]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Sirens are whining across town and patio items are strewn across backyards. Power outages are happening. Some outdoor events have been cancelled.

This is all due to some autumn-like strong winds that started just ahead of midnight last night (Tuesday). At 4:28 am Environment Canada had issued a wind warning for today Wednesday May 18:

  • Strong southwesterly winds beginning this morning for southeast Vancouver Island.
  • Locations: East Vancouver Island near and south of Duncan, Saltspring Island, Mayne Island, Pender Island, Saturna Island, and Greater Victoria.
  • Hazard: Very strong southwesterly winds of 70 km/h gusting to 90.

All of this due to “an unseasonably strong low pressure system will make landfall on Vancouver Island early this morning bringing strong winds to the region”. The day is otherwise sunny, under bright blue skies.

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Winds easing by evening, but remaining gusty:

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Wind warning for May 18, 2022 for the Greater Victoria area on south Vancouver Island. [Environment Canada]

Southeasterly winds of 40 km/h gusting to 70 are expected ahead of the system, it was explained in the Environment Canada May 18 wind warning. The strongest winds were forecast to occur once the cold front passes and the winds shift to southwesterly 70 km/h gusting to 90 late this morning.

Winds will gradually ease below warning criteria this evening but remain gusty overnight.

BC Hydro outages:

As of 1:48 pm this afternoon, 24,041 BC Hydro customers were without power in the south Vancouver Island region (total of 62 outages); that went down a bit by 2:25 pm to 23,247, and again down by 3:02 pm to 22,733, and at 3:06 pm then up again to 23,012 (54 outages). At 3:32 pm there were 23,032 people without power (59 outages), as windy conditions continue.

The hardest hit areas include the Duncan/Cowichan area and the Gulf Islands.

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Outages in the Duncan area, May 18, 2022.
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Outages on several of the Gulf Islands, May 18, 2022.

There are also some outages (about 224 customers without power) in the Colwood/Langford area, as well as 351 customers without power in View Royal.

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Outages in parts of Colwood and Langford, May 18, 2022.

Power outages overnight, Wednesday into Thursday:

Many BC Hydro customers went overnight without power as a result of wind gusts that lasted through into Wednesday night.

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People are always reminded to be prepared for outages at any time, with an emergency kit including battery-operated lighting.

Next day: As of 10:42 am Thursday May 19 there were still 13,007 BC Hydro customers in the south Vancouver Island region without power (125 outages), spread over much of the region including Saanich, Oak Bay, Langford, Highlands, Central Saanich, and more.

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Outages still for Highlands and Langford at 10:42 am on Thursday May 19, 2022.
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BC Hydro outages as of 10:42 am on Thursday May 19, 2022, which is the day after major wind gusts in the region. [BC Hydro]

Further alerts:

Environment Canada wind warnings include this standard message: Damage to buildings, such as to roof shingles and windows, may occur. Loose objects may be tossed by the wind and cause injury or damage.

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High winds may result in power outages and fallen tree branches.

Further alerts and forecasts may be issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to BCstorm@ec.gc.ca or tweet reports using #BCStorm.

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