British Columbia

Some Vancouver Island residents to remain without power overnight as wind batters southwest B.C.

As of 5 p.m. PT, B.C. Hydro estimates nearly 59,500 customers are without power, the vast majority on Vancouver Island.

Wind warnings in place for East Vancouver Island and Fraser Canyon, thousands without power on Wednesday

Crews with B.C. Hydro power are working to restore power to around 20,000 customers due to strong winds on May 18, 2022. (B.C. Hydro/Twitter)

Thousands of British Columbians are without power as some regions of the province deal with strong winds and rain, and some residents on Vancouver Island are expected to be without power overnight.

Environment Canada has issued wind warnings for parts of the province, including eastern Vancouver Island and the Fraser Canyon. Special weather statements remain in place for the rest of southwest B.C.

The weather forecaster anticipates strong, southwesterly winds of up to 70 km/h, gusting to 90 km/h in some areas. The wind is expected to ease in the evening and overnight, according to the special weather statements.

As of 5 p.m. PT, B.C. Hydro estimates nearly 59,500 customers are without power, the vast majority on Vancouver Island. 

The utility says it restored power to more than 67,000 customers on Wednesday, and as many as 121,000 customers were without power at some point.

A spokesperson for B.C. Hydro said that downed trees on power lines were responsible for many of the power outages. 

Firefighters work to remove a downed tree at the intersection of Begbie and Chestnut Street in Victoria on Wednesday. Strong winds overnight toppled numerous trees, leading to many residents in southwest B.C. having no power. (Kathryn Marlow/CBC)

Some residents in the areas hardest hit by the storm — Duncan, Qualicum Beach, and Parksville on Vancouver Island, as well as the Gulf Islands – are likely to remain without power overnight, according to Hydro.

Weather statements are in effect for many mountain passes. Snow is predicted for some parts of the Coquihalla Highway, Trans Canada Highway, and Highway 3 overnight. The snowfall is likely to ease Thursday morning, to be replaced by flurries, according to Environment Canada.

DriveBC, the province's highway information website, says heavy fog significantly reduced visibility on parts of the Coquihalla Highway Wednesday morning.

CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe says skies should clear up by Thursday morning, and expects a mix of sun and cloud for the second half of the week.