About 34,000 B.C. homes remain without power after a powerful windstorm hit the south coast, and it’s likely to be a while longer before crews can fix the damage in some areas.
On Sunday morning, BC Hydro said its personnel had restored power to over 550,000 customers since Thursday’s storm — one of the worst it has seen in 20 years.
But impassable roads blocked by downed power lines means crews can’t fully assess the worst of the damage in Vancouver Island communities like Duncan, Nanaimo and Lake Cowichan and on some of the Gulf Islands.
@bchydro if my community is listed as "out" for the 24th that means we're not likely to have power by Christmas?
— Silas Ashton (@LaughNgamez) December 23, 2018
Gulf Islands resident Shaekira Wynde has been unable to return to her home on Galiano Island for five days.
Wynde planned a holiday gathering at her house but has been stuck in a hotel near Victoria while the prime rib she purchased for the party rots and her credit card bill grows.
“I came to town with just the clothes I was wearing and not even a heavy coat so I’ve had to go out and buy more clothes,” said Wynde.
Wynde doesn’t know how long she can afford to stay at the hotel, but is thankful she got a room because the hotel is full of stranded islanders.
BC Hydro said it has brought in additional personnel from Alberta and Eastern Canada to help out, but it still expects it will be several days before power will be restored in hard-hit and remote areas.
In the Lower Mainland, power was restored to approximately 3,000 customers on Sunday, but there are still more than 500 customers without electricity. BC Hydro says that even there it could take up to 36 hours before the power is fully restored.
Environment Canada said gusts hit 128 km/h across Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley on Thursday. The strongest winds were clocked at 144 km/h on a small island near Tofino.
Updates on power outages can be found on BC Hydro’s website.