Update: The Shawnigan Lake Community Centre will be open until 11:30 tonight and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday to provide a warm place for people to go who are still suffering from the power outage. They are also offering a place for people to charge their phones.
Approximately 800 BC Hydro customers in the Cowichan Valley were still without power Friday morning after the latest snowstorm hit the region on Wednesday.
Most of the customers still without power are in the Lake Cowichan and Shawnigan Lake areas, which were hard hit by heavy snow that took down power poles and lines.
BC Hydro spokesman Ted Olynyk said some customers in the more impacted areas likely won’t see their power restored until sometime Saturday.
“The Cowichan Valley was one of the hardest hit regions on the Island during the latest winter storm,” Olynyk said.
“An amazing amount of snow fell there. It looks to me like the top of Mount Washington in the middle of winter in the Shawnigan Lake area.”
But Olynyk said that with the snow melting fast as temperatures rise, the ground is becoming so saturated in the Valley that many trees are becoming unstable, and fears are they will fall over and take out more power lines.
“On top of that, we have a wind event that is forecast to hit the area sometime today, and that can make the situation worse,” he said.
“We’re reminding people that if they come across downed power lines to not remove the branches from the lines because they could still be energized. Just stay far away and call 911.”
BC Hydro crews worked throughout the night to restore power to hard-hit areas in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island.
Crews continue to make good progress restoring power to the 147,000 impacted customers, including 11,000 in the Cowichan Valley at the height of the outage yesterday.
BC Hydro crews will continue to work throughout the day to repair extensive damage and will be surveying hard-to-reach areas in helicopters. More than 100 spans of downed power lines need replacing, as well as multiple broken power poles.
BC Hydro has about 250 power line technicians working hard to restore power to customers quickly and safely and crews have been brought in from other areas of the province to assist with restoration efforts.