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Power restored to most B.C. customers after damaging wind storm

Wednesday, November 18th 2020, 12:00 pm - Damaging winds toppled power lines and trees, as thousands of residents in B.C. were left in the dark after an intense fall storm tracked through Tuesday.

British Columbia certainly took a wallop Tuesday from a powerful fall storm that pushed through the province. At the height of the storm, a total of 130,000 customers were left in the dark, primarily on Vancouver Island and the South Coast. According to BC Hydro, there were less than 10,000 customers still affected Wednesday morning.

The outages were a result of the damaging winds, with one recorded hurricane-force gust of 151 km/h near Solander Island Tuesday morning.

The winds were also strong enough to force the cancellation of ferry service in several regions, in addition to bringing down trees and power lines.

One video posted on Twitter shows the aftermath of a tree crashing through a home in Port Alberni.

All wind warnings have since been dropped.


In addition to the damaging winds and rain, there was snow. As the storm pushed in Monday night, many people B.C. reported thundersnow. You may wonder what that is and why it occurs with snow, but it is a common feature of the fall and winter seasons.

Weather Network meteorologist Tyler Hamilton says temperatures in the lower levels of the atmosphere quickly cooled Monday evening, changing the rain to snow. The air parcels were able to rise into the relatively warmer environment aloft, which consequently triggered the thundersnow and adequate charge separation to create the rare lightning event.


"Most people associate thunderstorms with the summer season, but an upper impulse rounding a trough along with an associated warm front created the necessary instability for some thundersnow magic," says Hamilton.


A cool and unsettled pattern is expected for southern B.C. late-week through the middle of next week, with a series of systems moving through. Relatively weak systems will move in late-week and on the weekend, but there is the potential for stronger and more moisture-laden systems for the beginning of next week.

Snow levels will be low enough for an abundance of snow at ski areas, including the North Shore. Additional snow is expected next week for the southern Interior, as well.

Chilly weather will also dominates this week across the northern half of B.C., stretching across the Yukon and N.W.T. into the weekend. Somewhat milder air returns next week.

Thumbnail courtesy of BC Hydro.

Stay tuned to the Weather Network for the latest forecast updates.

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