Recalling the worst wind storm in B.C. history - 750,000 homes without power

The December 2018 storm downed trees and damaged hydro equipment.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


On December 20, 2018, British Columbia was hit with a ferocious storm that caused the most hydro damage in the province's history.

The storm came in strong with more than 400 mm of rain and wind gusts that surpassed 100 km/h.

Wind speeds summary/B.C.

Courtesy Environment Canada

The extreme rain and wind combination caused trees to lose stability and blow over. As the branches and trees crashed to the ground, they took BC Hydro's electrical equipment down with them, too.

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The damage to the hydro equipment caused 750,000 homes to lose power. Within the first 24 hours, BC Hydro was able to restore the power for more than 550,000 homes. But as seen in the chart below, 50,000 homes were still without power after 72 hours.

How long it took to restore power chart BC

Courtesy BC Hydro

Chris O'Riley, BC Hydro's president and chief operating officer, said that “Responding to this storm involved our biggest mobilization of crews, equipment and materials ever.” He added that "We had more than 900 field personnel working to repair damage to more than 1,900 spans of wire, 390 power poles, 700 crossarms and 230 transformers."

Listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History" to hear more about B.C.'s worst Hydro storm and how it compared to the province's August 2015 windstorm...check out the pictures below to see the aggressive conditions/aftermath.

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Thumbnail courtesy of Mia Gordon