Nanaimo sweeps up after storm

NANAIMO - First major storm of fall, winter season leaves power outages in its wake.

B.C. Hydro crews are getting customers back on the power grid as Nanaimo sweeps up after weathering its first storm of the fall season.

The storm hit Thursday night, packing rain driven by gale force winds that first made landfall on the south Island.

Environment Canada reported wind gusts were clocked at hurricane force of 117 kilometres per hour near Texada Island.

Linley Valley, Biggs Road, Jingle Pot Road and South Gabriola Island took the brunt of the weather that roared through the region late Wednesday.

“Peak for the Nanaimo area was between 11 p.m. and midnight last night. We had about 4,000 customers out,” said Ted Olynyk, B.C. Hydro spokesman.

Areas of Harewood and pockets of south Nanaimo were also left without power and repair crews were still restoring service to some areas Friday morning.

“We sent crews home early in a lot of districts so that way they could be available throughout the night,” Olynyk.

B.C. Hydro had prepared for the storm season with an extensive tree pruning program in late summer that cleared away heavy tree branches and dead trees that could have snapped power poles or downed lines, but small branches and debris blown from trees can still short out power lines.

“It’s the first storm after the summer, so typically what happens is everything that’s dry and brittle is easily airborne and comes in contact with our lines and there’s no vegetation work that could help us deal with that,” Olynyk said.