B.C. windstorm: Thousands without power 'for days,' 1 dead
Friday, December 21, 2018, 9:55 AM - Thousands of people living on B.C.'s South Coast could be without power for days after an intense windstorm hammered the region throughout the day Thursday, possibly turning deadly on Vancouver Island.
Environment Canada said gusts hit up to 100 km/h across Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley. At one point, more than 330,000 people were without power.
As of early Friday morning, BC Hydro said 150,000 customers were still in the dark.
The utility called it "one of the most severe storms BC Hydro has experienced in years," adding that it could be days before power is fully restored to everyone.
WATCH BELOW: B.C. STORM'S PUNISHING IMPACT
They tweeted overnight that while they were making progress responding to outages on the mainland, the brunt of the damage was taken by Vancouver Island.
They also said crews would be on early ferries Friday morning to get to the hardest-hit spots on the island.
A tree fell along the Sea-to-Sky Highway near Horseshoe Bay in the early afternoon on Thursday. A windstorm has knocked out power to more than 100,000 people and led to widespread ferry cancellations between the mainland and Vancouver Island. (Véro Hamel/Facebook)
ONE KILLED, ANOTHER INJURED IN STORM
The BC Coroners Service said a person was killed by a falling tree in Duncan on Vancouver Island, although it is unclear if the tree fell because of the strong winds.
In Surrey, a worker was injured and taken to hospital when a tree went down near Pacific Academy school. WorkSafeBC is investigating the incident.
PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE DAMAGED
In White Rock, about 50 kilometres from Vancouver, the landmark pier was partly destroyed by powerful waves.
Video from the shoreline shows waves ripping out a large section of the 104-year-old structure, leaving a man trapped on the far end. He was later rescued by helicopter.
City officials said more details on clean-up and repair plans would be released Friday.
RAIL LINE DAMAGED
The waves in White Rock also cut rail service that runs along its shoreline.
Amtrak passenger service to Seattle has been cancelled, along with up to 17 freight trains that run along that route every day.
(A Royal Canadian Air Force helicopter rescued a man from the White Rock pier on Thursday afternoon after a storm broke the pier apart. (Tom Ewasiuk/Twitter/@residualimage)
Burlington Northern railway owns and maintains the line. Gus Melonas, a company spokesman in Seattle, said crews worked overnight Thursday to stabilize the storm-damaged rail bed.
Melonas said there are problem areas all through to Bellingham, Wash. Burlington Northern hopes to reopen the line Friday.
The storm also forced the closure of several public parks, including Vancouver's Stanley Park, out of concern for public safety.
Several public trails and viewpoints leading to the beach in South Surrey and White Rock were also shut down.
Story originally published on CBC.ca, with files from With files from Liam Britten, Gian-Paolo Mendoza, Rhianna Schmunk and Eric Rankin.