Cowichan Valley hardest hit on Island by windstorm

Thursday’s windstorm with gusts at almost 100 kilometres per hour, knocked out power to 50,000 homes and businesses on Vancouver Island, with 30,000 of those in the Cowichan Valley area.

"The Cowichan Valley actually was the hardest hit area on the Island," said BC Hydro spokesperson Ted Olynyk on Friday morning. At that time crews, some of whom worked through the night, were still working to restore electricity to all of those affected, and Olynyk estimated that power would be restored to most customers by 6 p.m. that night.

Falling trees and branches caused havoc throughout the day Thursday, with one house on Coronation Avenue in Duncan crushed by a falling tree, and other trees coming down across the Silver Bridge onto a car, and across the train tracks in the Allenby Road area.

"It just shows how the eye of the storm came over the Cowichan Valley," he said.

Though Hydro was prepared for the storm, Olynyk said winds ended up being stronger than anticipated, and due to the time of year and recent wet weather conditions it ended up being something of a perfect storm for creating destruction.

"You never know until you put your hindsight glasses on, how strong the storm is," Olynyk said.

"It caught us a bit off guard, I think, the strength of the storm, and the tracking of the storm," he said explaining that Hydro had prepared the previous week for a storm that ended up not amounting to much.

Though Hydro does extensive work throughout the year to weed out problem vegetation like dead trees, as in 2006 when a storm hit taking down a lot of vegetation, Olynyk said, conditions were ripe to take out healthy trees.

"We still have a lot of leaves on trees and it just acts like a sail," he said. "With the saturated ground like that it makes it a lot easier for the trees to come down."

While Hydro works diligently to try to avoid mass outages like what happened last week, there is no perfect solution, Olynyk said.

B.C. is the most heavily treed area in North America per kilometre of utility line, and Vancouver Island is the most heavily treed area per kilometre of utility line in the province.

"We prepare year-round, but at the end of the day there’s not much you can do when you get winds of almost 100k, you have to wait it out and do your best," said Olynyk.

Classes were cancelled at Vancouver Island University’s Cowichan Campus, and businesses were closed throughout the region due to the loss of power.

Just Posted

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Mariah Segee (centre) was named 2021 Lady of the Lake last Saturday, with Megan Rowbottom (left) as first princess, and Macey Anderson (right) as second princess. (Submitted)
Lady of the Lake returns to Lake Cowichan

Mariah Segee takes the crown in first pageant since 2018

Darren Campbell's truck was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch (pictured) on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
UPDATE: Cowichan Bay Good Samaritan’s stolen truck recovered

‘Very much appreciated the help from so many people. I hope the very best for all of you’

Threads N Tails owner Lee-Ann Burke’s pet clothing has been featured on the cover of the June/July issue of Pet Connection Magazine. (Submitted)
Lake Cowichan business featured on magazine cover

Lee-Ann Burke hopes the extra publicity will increase sales

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Most Read