‘Stuck in Youbou! Swordfern Boutique is closed until further notice’ alerts one local business to potential customers, alongside this image. (Swordfern Boutique/Facebook)

UPDATED: 28,000 to 29,000 without power in Cowichan Valley; more winds expected

Roads closed, trees down, no estimated time for power to be restored

Nearly 30,000 homes and businesses throughout the Cowichan Valley were without power Thursday morning due to heavy rain and strong winds that have lashed Vancouver island, and the situation only got worse as the day continued.

The coroner is investigating a death in Duncan that happened near the black bridge and is believed to be connected to the storm.

Outages ranged from Duncan to North Cowichan, and Lake Cowichan, across wide spans of the Valley.

In many cases the cause is still under investigation with no estimated time for power to be restored.

Approximately 2,500 Cowichan Lake residents were the first without power during the wind and rain storm on Dec. 20.

The outages have also extended down to Cobble Hill, Shawnigan Lake and Mill Bay, where roughly 3,400 people are also in the dark.

Mainroad Contracting reported that “Youbou Road is currently closed from Creekside West due to multiple trees and hydro lines down. There are currently no detours in effect.”

RELATED: Wind gusts of 100 km/hr batter Vancouver Island as storm continues

Meanwhile, on Facebook, residents were warning their friends to stay home rather than venture towards Youbou. One resident said he could hear “sounds of trees crashing all around.”

Another person was reporting a tree down on Highway 18, leading to alternating traffic. There were also reports that the old Lake Cowichan highway was closed due to trees on the road.

There were also reports of trees down at Woodland Shores, located between Youbou and Lake Cowichan.

Another power outage, on the south side of Cowichan Lake, affected the areas of Honeymoon Bay and Caycuse, and a person in Lake Cowichan posted, “I can hear trees falling in the distance. Huge gusts.”

But the Cowichan Lake area was just the beginning.

BC Hydro has power outages listed in multiple areas of the Cowichan Valley with more than 3,000 without power in Duncan, more than 2,000 homes in North Cowichan and 2,000 in Lake Cowichan. All of Cobble Hill, Shawnigan Lake and Mill Bay are listed as down, as are Crofton and Chemainus.

A Medevac helicopter was unable to land at Cowichan District Hospital due to the high winds and had to come to earth at Cowichan Secondary School. The helicopter first landed on the school’s field, but began to sink on the water-saturated turf, and had to move to the track.

Several float homes Maple Bay broke free from their moorings, and a fuel dock was broken apart and some of the older boat sheds sustained significant damage, Maple Bay Marina owner Dave Messier said.

BC Hydro spokesperson Ted Olynyk said the storm has been a doozy, with the Cowichan Valley not even the hardest hit area on Vancouver Island, and another wave of the storm expected to hit in the coming hours.

“It’s a big one,” he said, calling the powerful windstorm a “significant event” for the utility.

On Vancouver Island a total of approximately 112,000 customers were without power shortly after noon, with the west coast of the Island faring the worst.

“We’ve lost the whole west coast,” said Olynyk, explaining that a main transmission line has gone down. It’s thrown Port Alberni, Tofino and Ucluelet into the dark, among other communities.

In the Cowichan Valley 28,000 to 29,000 customers were out of power. Areas where the wind was funnelling through Valley’s, like Cowichan, were getting the brunt of it, Olynyk said.

It is too early for BC Hydro to estimate when people will get their power back, he said, as much of the damage has yet to be assessed, though it likely includes transmission damage, pole damage and trees down on wires.

Olynyk said it’s “all hands on deck. We’ll do what we need to do to get the power back as soon as possible.” This may include bringing crews in from other areas.

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

Chris Istace campaigning in Crofton. (Photo submitted)
Green Party’s Istace apologizes for remark about First Nations gaming grants being a ‘handout’

Candidate determined to do better in thinking and communicating matters of reconciliation

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring says the City Langford has lessons to share on how to deal with social issues. (File photo)
Langford could teach North Cowichan ways to deal with social issues: Siebring

Island city has only eight homeless people, according to last count

Potential designs for 85 Station St. were presented last month to the City of Duncan by the Portland-based architecture and planning firm Communitecture. (Courtesy of Communitecture)
City of Duncan considers applying for grant for Station Street project

New provincial program offers grants of up to $1 million

The bus is free to ride on Oct. 24 so voters can get to the polls to cast their ballots in the provincial election. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Free transit on Election Day in Cowichan

all day and on all regular routes

Painters Jim Tulip, Doug Mackenzie and Gary Henslowe were painting the exterior of the Duncan Butcher Shop and Apple Press printing shop, located between the Trans Canada Highway and Whistler Street, on Oct. 8 as part of neighbourhood painting project. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Duncan’s Whistler Street sees a fresh lick of paint in opioid battle

Group wants to help clean up community, one street at a time

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Vancouver Island First Nations back Nova Scotia’s Indigenous lobster fishermen

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council calls for action before lives are lost

Skiers line up to start the Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race. Photo by Tim Penney
Popular Comox Valley adventure race cancelled for 2021

COVID forces Comox Valley Royal LePage Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race cancellation again

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Sails down, masks up for Ron and Sherry Pryde, who completed a 119 day journey that was supposed to be 70 days. (Zoe Ducklow)
Coast Guard towed rudderless sailors to Port Hardy hours before a powerful storm

Rudderless for a month, the couple zigzagged most the way home with “a few donuts and lazy-eights”

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
2 years after huge highway acid spill, Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Most Read