Windstorm causes 330,000 households to lose power in southwest B.C.

A car on Columbia Street, in Vancouver, was hit hard by a tree that was downed by a windstorm overnight on Friday. (Jake Costello/CBC - image credit)
A car on Columbia Street, in Vancouver, was hit hard by a tree that was downed by a windstorm overnight on Friday. (Jake Costello/CBC - image credit)

Crews have restored power to more than 320,000 households on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, the Sunshine Coast and the Lower Mainland, which lost electricity Friday night as a windstorm pounded southwest B.C.

According to B.C. Hydro, the hardest hit areas were Surrey, Victoria, Nanaimo, Qualicum and Parksville.

As of 8 a.m. PT on Sunday, more than 9,000 customers remained without power, with the majority in the southern area of the Lower Mainland.

B.C. Hydro said the damage was particularly bad because many trees had been weakened by an extended period of drought.

"Clean-up work will continue into the night," said B.C. Hydro in a media statement Saturday afternoon.

"Because of the extensive damage, repair work will take time and some customers will be without power overnight. Crews will continue to work around-the-clock until power is restored."

B.C. Hydro originally said power had been knocked out for more than 220,000 customers, but that number was increased to 330,000 by Saturday afternoon.

Residents in many communities woke up Saturday morning to find trees down, with some over roads or on homes.

Submitted by Tyler Kuntz
Submitted by Tyler Kuntz

"The wind was going and I didn't think much of it and an hour later I heard a crack and a big crash and I realized something was going on and I looked out the window to find this giant tree had come down and crushed our shed," New Westminster resident Sherida Charles told CBC News.

Environment Canada issued wind warnings Friday night for Metro Vancouver, several parts of Vancouver Island including Greater Victoria, the Southern Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast. That warning has since been rescinded.

Belle Puri/CBC
Belle Puri/CBC

Wind gusts of 90km/h were expected throughout the night, the weather service warned, and up to 100km/h on western Vancouver Island. Heavy rain and lightning strikes were reported in some areas.

"Damage to buildings, such as to roof shingles and windows, may occur," the warning stated.

"Loose objects may be tossed by the wind and cause injury or damage. High winds may result in power outages and fallen tree branches."

On social media, people reported objects being tossed about on Friday night. A number of ferries were cancelled by B.C. Ferries on Friday due to heavy wind gusts.


B.C. Hydro says downed power lines are considered an emergency, and if anyone who sees one they should call 911 and stay at least 10 metres back.

Anyone dealing with a power outage can visit the B.C. Hydro website to look for updated estimate of when electricity will be restored.

B.C. Hydro says those in Chilliwack and other parts of the Fraser Valley, as well as remote parts of B.C., could expect to be without power through Sunday, due to what it described as "extensive damage."