Power knocked out to thousands in Cowichan Valley, including hospital

The wind and rain storm that struck Thursday night knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses on Vancouver Island.

The wind and rain storm that struck Thursday night knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses on Vancouver Island.

BC Hydro is reporting that more than 29,000 of its customers on the Island, including 6,400 in the Island’s southern sector that includes the Cowichan Valley, were left without power at the height of the storm.

Environment Canada issued a wind warning for all over Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast on Thursday due to a low-pressure system approaching the region.

The winds picked up in the late afternoon, with the storm peaking between 9 p.m. and midnight in most areas.

Even the Cowichan District Hospital was impacted by the storm and had to rely on its power generators when its power went down between 8 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. Friday.

BC Ferries also reported several sailings are cancelled Thursday evening due to adverse conditions, including between Tsawwassen and Duke Point as well as Comox and Powell River.

Drivers were also reporting issues with fallen branches down on roads in parts of the Cowichan Valley as the morning commute began on Friday, but officials at the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment were unavailable on Friday morning to determine if the conditions caused any accidents.

BC Hydro spokesman Ted Olynyk said most of those that still don’t have their power on should see it returned by Friday night, except in areas where the damage to the power system from the storm requires more work.

“The eastern side of Vancouver Island were hit pretty hard,” Olynyk said.

“It was the first wind storm of the season, with wind gusts of up to 90 kilometres an hour. While it wasn’t a particularly strong storm, there was a lot of dry vegetation from the summer hanging from trees close to our power wires and that caused some problems.”

Olynyk said the storm will likely be followed by more as the winter season approaches and advised people to have flashlights, radios and fresh batteries to operate them readily available in the event of future power outages.