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

North Cowichan considers more off-leash dog parks

But licensing fees could increase as well

Police arrest Baby Bear statue thief in Chemainus

Suspect alleged to be responsible for other crimes in Nanaimo, Ladysmith and Alberta

Quw’utsun FC crushes Lakehill

Two hat tricks in 8-1 rout

Feds preparing plane to fly Canadians out of Wuhan, once China gives OK

160 Canadians have asked for help to leave province at centre of coronavirus outbreak

John Horgan calls for end to ‘high-grading’ B.C. forests

Premier speaks to resource industry forum in Prince George

PHOTOS: Truck outside Victoria gets partially stuck in sinkhole

Municipal crews have since repaired water main and patched up hole

Police search north of Williams Lake prompts warning to residents to stay inside

Officers also warn drivers near Lynes Creek Road not to pick up pedestrians

60% of Canadian workers would take a pay cut for better mental health support: survey

Survey found 77% of workers would leave for better wellness initiatives

Runaway rail car reported on same B.C. train line as fatal 2019 derailment

CP Rail confirmed the incident happened on Jan. 14.

Southern resident orca L41 considered missing and feared dead

The orca was last spotted in August 2019 when photographed in western Strait of Juan de Fuca

‘Critically low’ caribou population prompts wolf cull in the Chilcotin

Itcha-Ilgachuz herd numbers down to 385, from 2,800 in 2003

Most Read