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UPDATED: Thousands without power, tree crushes cars in Duncan in windstorm

BC Hydro expects most will have power back on by tonght
Branches block a lane on Herd Road in North Cowichan during a windstorm that took out power to thousands on Wednesday, May 18, 2022. (Andrea Rondeau/Citizen)

All the BC Hydro customers in the Cowichan Valley who lost their power during the windstorm on May 18 have had it restored.

At the peak of the storm, close to 60,000 customers lost power on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, including approximately 5,600 customers who lost power between Nanaimo and Duncan.

Work crews were sent to the region from other areas of the Island that were less affected by the storm, including crews from Courtenay, Campbell River, Port Alberni and even Vancouver, which also saw significant damage but was able to spare a few crews to help out in areas like the south-east coast of the Island that were more impacted.

In a press release, BC Hydro said it appreciates its customers’ patience and the support shown to crews during the storm and the repairs afterwards.

As well as the power outages, there was other damage as at least three cars were crushed in Duncan after a tree came down on a parking area on Duncan Street, and a tree came down on a home in Cobble Hill, damaging the roof.

BC Hydro spokesman Ted Olynyk said the storm was a very significant weather event that impacted customers on eastern Vancouver Island, from Saanich in the south to Parksville in the north.

“This is not an event that we’d expect to see in May,” he said.

”Usually these types of windstorms occur in late fall and early winter, but there are no leaves on the trees then so there is less for the wind to catch. This storm happened when the trees all have leaves and the soil is saturated from all the rain that we had this spring, which caused many to fall on power lines.”

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Branches litter a path in Centennial Park in Duncan following a windstorm Wednesday, May 18, 2022. (Andrea Rondeau/Citizen)
Three cars were crushed on Duncan Street when a tree crashed down on them during the windstorm on Wednesday, May 18, 2022. (Nehru Manak photo)
Cars were crushed on Duncan Street when a tree crashed down on them during the windstorm on Wednesday, May 18, 2022. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Robert Barron

About the Author: Robert Barron

Since 2016, I've had had the pleasure of working with our dedicated staff and community in the Cowichan Valley.
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