Thousands in the Cowichan Valley and the south Island were still without power as of Tuesday morning after an unexpected snowstorm hit the area on Monday, with heavy snow cracking off tree branches and taking down power lines. Pictured is a vehicle in Duncan after being struck by falling branches. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Thousands in the Cowichan Valley and the south Island were still without power as of Tuesday morning after an unexpected snowstorm hit the area on Monday, with heavy snow cracking off tree branches and taking down power lines. Pictured is a vehicle in Duncan after being struck by falling branches. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

UPDATED: Thousands still without power in Cowichan after Monday snowstorm

BC Hydro crews working around the clock to repair damage

BC Hydro crews are working hard to restore power to the approximately 13,600 customers on south Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands that lost power during Monday’s unexpected snow storm, but some may remain in the dark until tomorrow.

Most of those without power on the south Island as of 9:30 a.m. Tuesday were primarily located in Duncan, Victoria and Salt Spring Island, the hardest hit area on the Island.

The north Island also had 1,772 customers without power as of Tuesday morning, while about 24,500 in the Lower Mainland primarily in Maple Ridge, Mission and Surrey, were also in the dark.

Yesterday’s heavy, wet snow snowfall added weight to branches and trees, which caused them to break and come into contact with BC Hydro’s electrical equipment.

RELATED STORY: THOUSANDS WITHOUT POWER AS SNOW BLANKETS COWICHAN

As a result, all available BC Hydro crews and contractor crews will continue to work around the clock repairing the extensive damage until power is restored.

BC Hydro spokesman Ted Olynyk said the Crown corporation understands that outages are disruptive and it thanks its customers for their patience as crews work to repair the damage and restore power.

He said the storm created an ugly mix of conditions for work crews.

“We like to move quickly in the hardest hit areas, but a lot of trees and branches came down across roads, snarling traffic and delaying work crews that were coming in to help from Victoria and other parts of the Island,” Olynyk said.

“We hope to have the power back for almost all our customers who are still without power as of tonight, but some may have to wait until tomorrow due to damage to their service lines, which are the lines that are connected to people’s homes, or other reasons. Everyone is expected to have their power back by tomorrow at the latest.”

As repair work continues, BC Hydro will provide updated estimates for power restoration as they become available at bchydro.com/outages.

The Cowichan Valley was the hardest hit area on Vancouver Island when it came to power outages, with multiple calls beginning to come in yesterday morning, continuing throughout the afternoon. At the height of the outages yesterday almost 14,000 people in Cowichan were without power from the Malahat to Ladysmith to Youbou.

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