WORK: The biggest and most devastating storm to hit Vancouver Island this year has required at least one life. April Lawrence reports.
Crews work to clear trees and restore power under a wind storm caused by a person's death and left thousands without power over Vancouver Island.
The storm has knocked out power to more than 143,000 customers on Vancouver Island, including all Ucluelet and Tofino, from kl. 6:30 BC BC said there was a transmission failure failure in Tofino and Ucluelet.
There are other power outages throughout Vancouver Island, with many reports of power downs. At 4 o'clock there were 34,000 customers in Victoria, 36,000 in Nanaimo and 30,000 in Duncan.
BC Hydro said the wind storm has caused power drops over Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast, Vancouver and Fraser Valley. They also receive reports of downstream power lines. The public is reminded to be at least 10 meters back from downstream power lines and call 911 immediately.
"There are extensive damage from branches and trees that break and come into contact with BC Hydro's electrical equipment. Continued strong winds have made damage assessment and repairs difficult, but how safe are the crew busy repairing damaged power lines, poles and transformers. Resources will work all day and evening to safely restore the power, "said BC Hydro in the statement.
BC Coroners Service has confirmed that there was a death in Duncan that was related to a tree that fell under the wind.
Environment Canada has issued wind warnings for all areas of Vancouver Island. Wind velocities from 70 to 90 km / h, with gusts of up to 100 km / h are expected as the low pressure system passes through.
Updated peak winds from kl. 13:00 PST:
Sandheads (NW or Tsawwassen) 121km / h
Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal 97km / h
YVR 73km / h
Abbostford Airport 101km / h
Pam Rocks (Howe Sound) 88km / h
Squamish 86km / h
The strongest wind is expected to continue until late in the afternoon to the inner south coast#BCstorm
– ECCC Weather British Columbia (@ECCCWeatherBC) December 20, 2018
The storm has also affected BC Ferries' major routes. There were dozens of cancellations Thursday morning, afternoon and evening, including sailings between Nanaimo and Horseshoe Bay, Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, Tsawwassen to Duke Point and Tsawwassen to the Southern Gulf Islands.
Kl. At 5:30 BC Ferries said that the service would resume on its three main routes, including at. 6 ferry from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen and 7pm ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay.
Out in the Alberni Valley, the rising Somass River has led to a local emergency state in the Tseshaht First Nation.
– Skye Ryan (@SkyeRyanCHEK) December 20, 2018
In Victoria, Butchart Gardens has confirmed that they are closed due to power outages and high winds. And at the Victoria International Airport, the terminal building is backed up. Tim Hortons, Starbucks and Spinnakers are closed for the day. White Spot is open. Free coffee, water and snacks are stationed around the terminal.
The city of Nanaimo has closed all parks and paths so far. Oliver Woods Community Center, Beban Park Social Center, Bowen Park Complex and Nanaimo Aquatic Center are also closed due to power outage. Residents are asked to avoid traveling, living indoors and calling 911 only if there is an emergency.
"The wind is expected to rise before they drop out later this evening. Please stay indoors and avoid traveling. City herds are working on road clearing and we will provide updates as information becomes available," said Nanaimo Fire Chief Karen Fry in a statement.
#Nanaimo: A number of roads are closed due to descending trees and power lines. Herds are working to clean up. Avoid unnecessary travel and stay indoors. Find the list of closures here: https://t.co/EQsQDcRxkX #YCD #bcstorm @ 917CoastFM @ 1023TheWave @ 1069thewolf @CHEK_News @CTVNewsVI pic.twitter.com/bf0LYJOAmP
– City of Nanaimo (@cityofnanaimo) 21 December 2018
There are also several road closures due to fallen trees. BC Hydro and road workers are working to remove the trees. The driver is reminded of being careful and using a four-way stopping procedure at crossings where the lights are out.
Our maintenance crews are working hard to clean the trees / debris #VancouverIsland. Many places are a challenge as a result of contact with power lines. In these cases the crew must wait @BCHydro consider safe to clean. Thank you for your patience. Pictures: W Shawnigan Lake Road #bcstorm pic.twitter.com/SnB2x0ACs0
– BC Transport (@TranBC) December 20, 2018
High winds cause power cuts, including traffic lights, around #VancouverIsland and #LowerMainland. Treat these crossings as four-way stop and take a trip. This explains more: https://t.co/53ad93rofi pic.twitter.com/lZWhrhgSC1
– BC Transport (@TranBC) December 20, 2018
Thousands of timber is across Highway 4 has left drivers in the Port Alberni area. Hotels are full in town.
– Skye Ryan (@SkyeRyanCHEK) 21 December 2018
Anyone in the Oceanside area who can not reach their destination can go to Qualicum Beach Civic Center at 747 Jones St, Qualicum Beach, where Emergency Support Services is available.
According to Environment Canada, it is expected to relieve Thursday night.
Here are some views and videos of the storm
WATCH: Floods at the waterfront at Otter Point on December 20, 2018. (Tanya Garrioch)
– Eric Doherty (@Eric_Doherty) December 20, 2018
Holy Christ thank God, the wind is blowing in the direction it is. Because that tree could have fallen on my house ?
Posted by Destani Dick Thursday, December 20, 2018
VIKK: High waves and wind at Otter Point (Tanya Garrioch)
WATCH: The snow hits Port McNeil during the widespread winter storm on December 20th (Gary Hall).
WATCH: Waves strike down at Sheringham Point Lighthouse in Shirley, BC. (Sheena)
CHOOSE: A tree falls down on a house on Stoneridge Drive in View Royal. (Curtis Clarke).