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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

YOU didn’t back check …

Pro hockey player Connor Jones’ inspiring stories on life, hockey and everything in between.

Haitian foster children arrive in Nelson after months-long lobbying effort

Marie-Paule Brisson and Sebastien De Marre have parented girls age 12 and 8 since they were babies

B.C. doc breaks down the incognito mosquito

Dr. Carol Fenton is a Medical Health Officer for Interior Health

Work remains to be done in B.C. care homes

BCSLA represents private operators of Independent and Assisted Living, and Long Term Care residences

Police investigating car accident on Rossland Hill

Captain Grant Tyson says the rollover resulted in minor injuries to three people

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

Most Read