BC Hydro warns storms could topple weakened trees

Part of Lougheed Highway was closed on Sept. 7 because of a downed tree and power lines.

Residents across British Columbia are being advised to prepare a well-stocked emergency kit for what BC Hydro warns could be a stormy fall and winter made worse by the effects of a severe summer drought.

The latest report from the Crown utility says record-breaking heat between June and August in many parts of the province killed trees or weakened their root systems.

It says unstable trees, combined with predicted stormier La Nina weather conditions, create the potential for more power outages if they topple across power lines.

BC Hydro says conditions heading into the fall mirror those in 2015 and 2018, when the utility was hit by its two most damaging storms.

It says a storm following the 2015 summer drought caused over 710,000 outages and lasted multiple days.

BC Hydro has some of the highest densities of trees per kilometre of power line in North America.

- with files from CTV -

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement in effect for the Central and South Okanagan.  South winds of 60 km per hour to 80 km per hour may develop late this afternoon into late this evening, in West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Naramata Bench and Penticton.

The robust cold front could also bring with it some rain.  Travellers on the Okanagan Connector should be aware of strong cross winds over exposed areas of the highway during this time.