More than 10,000 BC Hydro customers in Cowichan Valley were without power Monday night as a significant windstorm blew through the region Monday afternoon and into the evening hours.
The storm hit the Cowichan Valley Regional District the hardest of all parts of Vancouver Island, according to BC Hydro spokesperson Ted Olynyk.
“It was a good storm event that hit the south east coast of the island. Cowichan Valley and Victoria area were the hardest areas of the storm; Cowichan Valley had about 15,000 customers out at the peak and it was the hardest hit of all communities.”
As of 8:15 p.m. more than 10,275 customers in Shawnigan Lake, Cobble Mill Mill Bay, Maple Bay, Cowichan Bay, Glenora, Westholme, Crofton, Chemainus and into Ladysmith were affected.
Emergency crews were called out throughout the day, well into the after-dark hours to make sure downed lined weren’t putting people in danger.
Danger was all around, however, as Smith Megan and her partner Andy learned around 8:25 p.m. Monday night near Chemainus.
“We were driving and a branch smashed the [car] window,” Smith said. “Only one block from our house.”
The impact shattered the passenger’s side of vehicle’s windshield and gave its occupants quite a start.
The duo, who run @fuelforthesole on Instagram, an account that shows the beauty of the Cowichan Valley and beyond, had been returning from a trip to the mainland and said the ferry ride was calm.
“We didn’t notice any wind or branches down until we drove just south of Ladysmith. Then there were branches down and street lights flashing all along the highway,” she added.
Olynyk said the peak outage occurred at roughly 10 p.m. Monday night with 36,000 customers left in the dark across Vancouver Island.
While most customers had their power restored by early Tuesday morning, roughly 732 in the South Island region including more than 350 in the Cowichan Valley were without juice at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, though many of them were expected to be restored before noon.
“The storm is just a reminder that it’s still winter and still the season to get a good Pacific winter storm,” Olynyk said.