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

Vintage Flyers honor Broncos

Fuller Lake team takes tribute to Whistler tournament

Lake Cowichan resident petitioning for free hospital Wi-Fi

A medical condition has Sarah Gibson in and out of hospital regularly

LMG eyes Nanaimo after 2-1 win over ‘classy’ West Van side

Cowichan a step closer to provincial final

Hospital hero wins international honour for disarming knife wielding man

Charles Kraeling is the first Island Health employee to receive an International Award of Valour

May is the month of the rhododendron

The Cowichan Valley Rhododendron Society is holding its annual Garden Fair

Toronto van attack suspect faces 10 counts of first-degree murder

The suspect in the Toronto van attack that killed 10 people and injured 15 others on Monday is a 25-year-old man named Alek Minassian

Take the opportunity for some toad talk in Duncan Thursday

Cowichan Watershed Board is welcomes Elke Wind

Doctor sees healing power in psychedelic plant as Peru investigates death of B.C. man

Peru’s attorney general has ordered the arrest of two suspects in the killing of 41-year-old Sebastian Woodroffe

Toronto police officer ‘gave himself the space and time’ in van attack

Footage shows officer standing up, turning off his siren and talking clearly to the suspect

$1.18 to $1.58 a litre: Are you paying the most for gas in B.C.?

Gas prices across B.C. vary, with lowest in Vernon and highest in – you guessed it – Metro Vancouver

Inquest set 10 years after B.C. woman shot, left to die

Lisa Dudley, and her partner, Guthrie McKay were shot in their Mission home in September 2008

B.C. hockey team to retire Humboldt Bronco victim’s number

BCHL’s Surrey Eagles to retire Jaxon Joseph’s No. 10 in light of bus tragedy

B.C. Hells Angels invited to rally by anti-SOGI organizer

The Culture Guard group has helped Hells Angels in the past, said its executive director.

B.C. bill aims to keep Indigenous kids in communities, out of care

Changes to Child, Family and Community Service Act could connect MCFD, Indigenous communities

Most Read