West Shore in the dark during windstorm

Thousands of homes and businesses were left without power on Sunday after a severe windstorm knocked trees into powerlines.

9,000 homes without power Sunday

Thousands of homes and businesses were left without power on Sunday after a severe windstorm knocked trees into powerlines.

Colwood was hit especially hard with more than 4,000 homes left in the dark. Across the West Shore nearly 9,000 homes experienced power outages in Metchosin, Langford, Colwood and Highlands and View Royal.

“It was a very intense storm, it was a terrible day on Sunday,” said Ted Olynyk, BC Hydro Vancouver Island community relations manager. “One storm enveloped the whole Island. Crews were busy the whole day.”

Metchosin firefighters spent most of the day dealing with trees that had fallen on power lines. The 3700 block of Metchosin Road was shut down for most of the day because a fallen tree had blocked the road. Duke Road was used as a detour.

“The tree took down Telus line and was close to BC Hydro lines. It was laying right across the road way,” said Metchosin fire Chief Stephanie Dunlop.

“Lots of trees were down on power lines. It was reported at one point 80 per cent of the district was without power.”

Some trees falling into power lines sparked fires, such as on Farhill Road.

“The trees are energized, which is a big risk. The trees caught fire, but it was an electrical fire, you can’t put it out with water,” Dunlop said, adding the trees were wet and without electricity would not have been able to burn. “As soon as the charge is gone the fire goes out.”

A fallen tree halted traffic on the Malahat Drive around 11:45 a.m. on Sunday after a large tree fell across  the highway, blocking three lanes.

“The tree fell and broke on the centre barrier,” said Stuart Eaton, Langford roads manager for Mainroad South Island Contracting.

A crew from Mainroad cut the tree with chain saws and pushed it off to the side with a loader. The highway was closed for about an hour. The tree fell about 500 metres north of Ice Cream Mountain.

The Colwood Fire Department responded to five hydro related calls on Sunday.

“We had three hydro pole fires and two lines down,” said Colwood firefighter Bryan Erwin.

In Langford, the power outages disrupted shoppers at near Millstream Road box stores when the surrounding area lost power around 1 p.m.

A mass of cars flooded out of McCallum Road into a complicated four-way stop at the blacked-out intersection.

“It was crazy there. People had an hour-and-half to two hour wait to get out of the parking lot,” said Ann Transfield, a Langford resident.

Transfield heard all about it from customers at a grocery store in Langford.

“They said it was gridlocked from the parking lot right to the lights (at the Millstream Road intersection).”

reporter@goldstreamgazette.com

 

 

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