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Thousands of people on the sixth day without power; waste from damages is huge



About 20,000 homes on Vancouver Island remain without energy after a devastating storm on Thursday.

"The hard-hit areas are Duncan, where we have more than 4,000 customers without electricity, the Gulf Islands, Nanaimo and Qualicum," BC. Hidro spokesman Ted Olinik said on Monday. "It will take several days to return the power to those who are the hardest hit."

At the peak of the storm, more than a third of the Vancouver Island users were powerless. B.C. Hidro's outlet map painted the entire island red.

"This is one of these once in many decades of storms," ​​Olinik said. "It was a historic event, we carry crews from Alberta and the east coast," he said. "In my many years on the island, I do not remember transferring crews from outside BC to the island to help them with the restoration of a storm. proof of how great the damage is ".

The island of Sol Island has a lot of damage. The lines are down and there are many broken pillars, Olinik said.

Forty prolonged electrical lines are coming down to Stanley Hill in North Covikan.

"It's a total destruction in the Hilliers-Whisky Creek area near Coombs," he said. "In essence, guys treat him as a rebuild," he says, "there are so many exhausted lines, so many broken poles," Olinik said.

Gabriola was hit hard. Many large trees are descending on the line, and it is also affected by the electric feeder that goes to Gabriola, Olinik said. Until Monday, some force was renewed.

The power is returned to Tofino and Ukluls, but BC Hydro is still dealing with several minor outbursts in the area.

"In 2006 we had a series of storms after another. It seemed to be a storm that lasted from November to January and it will not stop. But the difference in 2006 was that we have a strong event, then the next event will be in another area for so we can make repairs and it's easier to move teams around.

"This was difficult because the storm's storm is so widespread that we could not move the crews so fast, nor do we transfer crews from the Lower Continent as soon as possible, because the damage was so extensive all over the southern coast."

In the area of ​​the Cedar-Yellow Point a helicopter was brought to restore the electrical line. Then, the crew had to descend on a farm to access the pillar.

"We had to use the excavator to clear the place where we were going to go. Fortunately, we had a dredger there." Our large trucks with heavy cargo baskets were stuck in the mud there, so it only slows down, "Olinik said.

Teams work for 12 to 16 hours in the section. Some come on vacation to help. The silver line in this wind situation is the patience and gratitude that people show.

"People leave the hot chocolate and food for the crews, realizing they are working late in the afternoon. In the salty spring, people leave office in order to pass on the crew." People expressed great gratitude, "Oliknik said.

B.C. Hidro continues to remind people to stay back at least 10 meters away from the line and to call 911. "What we see is incredible. People are taking advantage of the opportunity to cut wood for firewood while the tree is still on the line," Olinik said. "We have reached areas where there are sawdust residues, and the tree is essentially cut off. They are taking a huge risk with it alone."

By 1:30 am Monday, DriveBC reported that 80 percent of the streets of Old Island were passable, though with marked dangers in places.

Half of the islands of Saturn and Tethys were still blocked, as well as 80 percent of those of Galiano.

By contrast, 95 percent of the Pender Roads were passable, as were all those of Main, although with some dangers.

Mainroad South Island worked with B.C. Hydro to clear the roads and restore the power of the southern bay of the Gulf and send generators, water and equipment to places where it was needed.

All ferry terminals are open.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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