Fast moving storm injures one, cuts power to thousands

A wicked storm front that passed through Nanaimo Friday afternoon caused widespread power outages across the region.

A wicked storm front that passed through Nanaimo Friday afternoon caused widespread power outages across the region and was responsible for at least one injury in Nanaimo.

Powerful winds reportedly reaching gusts of up to 90 km/h blew speaker equipment off a utility shed at Merle Logan Field just after 1 p.m. Friday, injuring a 65-year-old football fan settling in to watch the John Barsby Bulldogs take on the Clarence Fulton Maroons.

The spectator said she suffered a dislocated and fractured shoulder. She was taken by ambulance to hospital and is now home recovering.

Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said the storm caused two minor car accidents near Duke Point due to hydroplaning, and police attended National Car Sales on Northfield Road to assist with a blown-over canopy. Otherwise there was no reported damage or injuries locally.

The storm moved in quickly from the north, bringing with it hail and pounding rain.

Ted Olynyk, spokesman for B.C. Hydro, said no power outages were reported in the area prior to 1 p.m. Friday, but between 1-2 p.m. almost 7,000 customers had lost power.

Outages peaked just after 3 p.m. with more than 10,000 customers in Nanaimo and Gabriola Island going without power.

“The storm was pretty intense and it happened very fast,” said Olynyk. “Trees on lines, branches on lines and in some of the more exposed areas, like on Galiano Island, we had 30 spans of line down.”

No injuries were reported as a result of fallen power lines.

Olynyk said it took crews a significant amount of time to restore power.

“It took a while,” he said. “There was some significant damage in some areas and a lot of outages we had to attend to and unfortunately crews weren’t able to attend to all the damage on Gabriola until [Sunday].”

As of Monday, all residents in the area had power restored.

Olynyk said the first storm of the season should serve as a reminder to have emergency supplies at hand in case of a long-term power outage, and to report any power losses to B.C. Hydro immediately so crews know which areas to attend and restore power.

Power outages should be reported by calling 1-888-769-3766.

reporter2@nanaimobulletin.com