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BC Hydro continues to restore power, may not be finished until end of week

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Many Island residents are still without power and BC Hydro says restoration may not be complete until Friday.

BC Hydro says the windstorm ripped through areas not normally impacted by storms of that scale. Hydro says they had close to 60,000 customers without power at the storm’s peak.

Many thousands still have no power.

Community relations manager Ted Olynyk says the damage done to many areas of the Island is worse than usual.

He adds they are bringing in more workers from less impacted areas like the Comox Valley and Campbell River along with the mainland, but he says it’s likely they won’t get everybody.

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“Areas that wouldn’t normally be hit as hard got hit pretty hard because the winds were coming in from the strait,” he said. “Usually when we get a big windstorm it’ll funnel down from Port Alberni through the Beaufort Range and down and hit Parksville, Qualicum area or come down the Cowichan Valley.”

He says part of the issue was the time of year along with recent weather events over the last two years.

“This is not a storm we normally get in May,” he said. “Right now we have trees full of leaves and much like a sail, the ground’s saturated in many areas and you’ll see some of the trees that have come down are dead as well.

“It’s not just healthy stuff, it’s dead stuff from the extreme events we’ve been having for the last couple of years now, especially the heat dome which damaged a lot of vegetation and a lot of trees.”

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Olynyk says they will deal with outages more frequently because of climate change.

Olynyk thanks people for their patience in their work, but asks for safety precautions during these events.

“It’s a good reminder that we all need to be prepared, year-round, for outages,” he said. “If you see a downed line stay 10 metres back, the line could be energized still.”

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