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

 

Just Posted

Tofino Hatchery wraps up successful season

“If you give those things half a chance, they will go to the ‘nth degree’ to get up those rivers.”

Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News earns four national awards

The Westerly was announced as the recipient of four Canadian Community Newspaper Awards last week.

Culture provides authentic means to education for Ahousaht and Klemtu students

Tying lessons into a real-world scenario creates a more significant and community-based classroom

Tofino police believe alcohol was a factor in Thursday night car crash

The crash knocked out power to the community from 6:44-10:01 p.m

Ucluelet Secondary School Class of 2019 embark on a new chapter

School will host graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 15 at 2 p.m.

PHOTOS: Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Update: Two shot, two arrested at Toronto Raptors victory rally

The team and several dignitaries, including Justin Trudeau, remained on stage

Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

Trudeau government expected to announce whether it will approve pipeline for second time on Tuesday

Skipping school costs a dozen B.C. students chance at a new car

Cowichan’s Jared Lammi showed up and won $5,000 cheque toward vehicle, but he can’t drive

BC Ferries adds extra and late night summer sailings

Seasonal adjustments to sailing times also in effect on many routes

Most Read