Thousands of Islanders left without power after windstorm takes down trees, hydro lines

No one was injured when three trees fell on a Sooke house during the windstorm that buffeted the region overnight Tuesday.

A man also escaped injury during the night when a tree crashed into his tent in Stadacona Park in Victoria.

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The trees that hit the house caused “considerable damage,” said Sooke communications co-ordinator Christina Moog.

She said the people in the home are staying with family members. “So they’re not requiring emergency-support services at this time.”

Victoria police responded to Stadacona Park just before 1 a.m. and ensured that the man in the tent was safe.

The storm also downed power lines, causing outages for more than 20,000 B.C. Hydro customers in the south Island.

B.C. Hydro reports 21,679 customers without power on the south Island as of 8 a.m., including Central Saanich, Duncan, the Gulf Islands, Langford, Metchosin, North Cowichan, Saanich, Sooke and Victoria.

By 11:30 a.m., about 15,000 customers on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands — primarily in Victoria and Duncan — were still without power, according to Scott Mora, spokesman for B.C. Hydro.

Power was also out in Tofino, Port Alberni, Nanaimo and Ladysmith.

Local schools have been affected, as well, with both John Muir and Prospect Lake elementaries out of power but open. Power was out at Kelset Elementary but has been restored.

The Sooke School District said to expect delays in bus service to some areas, while B.C. Transit is also reporting detours on several Greater Victoria routes due to fallen trees.

Several roads are closed due to downed hydro lines, including Shawnigan Lake Road between Stebbings and Skylar Circle, and Renfrew and Highland Ridge roads, and Highway 14 between Sooke and Port Renfrew.

Sooke Potholes is also closed due to downed hydro lines and trees.

B.C. Ferries has cancelled at least two trips this morning — the 5:15 a.m. sailing from Tsawwassen and the 7:45 a.m. departing Duke Point

A wind warning from Environment Canada remains in effect for Greater Victoria and the southern Gulf Islands this morning.

Westerly winds of 70 kilometres an hour over areas of Greater Victoria near the Juan de Fuca Strait will persist into the early afternoon, according to Environment Canada.

Southwest winds of 70 km/h over the Southern Gulf Islands are forecast to ease this morning.

A low pressure centre crossed southern Vancouver Island late last night and moved into the B.C. interior, said the weather forecaster.

B.C. Hydro said more than 100,000 customers in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the Southern Interior were without power this morning. The hardest hit areas are Abbotsford, Victoria and Vernon.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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