A tree down on the road and power lines on Yale Road West in front of Chilliwack Golf Club Thursday afternoon. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

BC Hydro calls December storm ‘most destructive in history’

At one point more than 750,000 customers were without power

BC Hydro is calling the windstorm that struck the south coast last month and caused massive power outages across the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, the most destructive in the company’s history.

In a report released Jan. 2, BC Hydro says the storm impacted more customers, caused more damage and required the largest mobilization of resources than any previous storm.

READ MORE: Thousands without power due to B.C. wind storm

“Responding to this storm involved our biggest mobilization of crews, equipment and materials ever,” said Chris O’Riley, BC Hydro’s president and chief operating officer. “We had more than 900 field personnel working to repair damage to more than 1,900 spans of wire, 390 power poles, 700 cross-arms and 230 transformers.”

At its peak more than 750,000 customers were without power, making it more severe than the August 2015 windstorm that affected the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, and larger than the 2006 windstorm that hit Vancouver Island and devastated Stanley Park.

READ MORE: Man rescued after White Rock pier breaks up in wind storm

READ MORE: Windstorm cancels 130 BC Ferries sailings

What made the storm so damaging is the fact that winds came from multiple directions. According to the report, this destabilized some trees and coupled with wind speeds in some areas topping 100 kilometres per hour and 400 millimetres of rain falling in some areas leading up to the storm, resulted in trees and branches crashing down on electrical equipment.

BC Hydro restored power to more than 550,000 customers in the first 24 hours, and all customers in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley were restored by Christmas Eve.

But the report points to Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands as areas that were more problematic, both due to the extent of damage as well as difficulties in accessing areas due to downed trees and blocked roads.

VIDEO: Severe damage caused by windstorm on Saltspring Island

“On behalf of BC Hydro, I want to sincerely thank our customers for their patience, and the kind words of support and encouragement. We also want to thank the many businesses – small and large – that supported our crews while they worked to restore the power,” adds O’Riley.

“Reflecting on how we can improve is an important part of how we debrief after every storm. We will continue to work on improving how we respond to storms so we will be ready for the next event Mother Nature throws at us.”

BC Hydro says all customers impacted by the Dec. 20 storm had power restored by mid-day Dec. 31.



ragnar.haagen@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Bike lane closed, traffic impacted by landscaping in Metchosin

Construction begins May 25, to be complete by mid-July

Homeless shelter at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre creates 40 jobs

The arena can house 45 people in pop-up pods

Bears spotted near Saanich lake spooked by police, wandered off

Bear, cub not seen over weekend but police ask residents to be on alert

Victoria’s 75,000 veggie plants ready to find a home

New gardeners line-up for Get Growing Victoria

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Dump truck in Nanaimo snags power lines, snaps hydro pole, crashes

No injuries in incident Monday morning on Old Victoria Road

Ferry sailings scheduled once again at Nanaimo’s Departure Bay terminal

BC Ferries announces that resumption of service June 3 includes four daily round trips

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Island Health signs working agreement to turn former Comox hospital into a ‘dementia village’

Island Health has signed a project development agreement with Providence Living to… Continue reading

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

Most Read