Wild windstorm leaves many in the dark and BC Ferries at the dock
BC Hydro officials are calling yesterday's windstorm -- one of the most severe they've experienced in years.
At the height of the storm, there were more than 150,000 power outages across Vancouver island.
89,000 homes and businesses remained without power early Friday morning, the number dropped to 85,000 by noon.
BC Hydro spokesperson Ted Olnyk warns power may not be restored to all, until later this weekend.
Olnyk says more than 550 B-C hydro field staff are working overtime to get the lights back on.
He warns, in the meantime, residents need to steer clear of downed power lines.
"We're hearing these crazy reports of people out there thinking it's a opportunity for free firewood. Trees coming down on lines, the line could still be energized. The wood is wet and will conduct electricity. You're putting yourself in harms way by doing that."
Numerous schools were closed across south Vancouver Island, including 11 in the Cowichan Valley School District were closed Friday due to outages.
BC Transportation reports 80 per cent of roads are impassable on Galiano Island due to downed trees. The Fernwood neighborhood on Salt Spring Island is under a boil water advisory after downed trees damaged the water infrastructure.
The Times Columnist cancelled Friday's printed edition; a power outage affecting the printing press in Ladysmith.
The paper is available online for free today.
Though some foliage was windswept, the storm didn't damage the Christmas display at Butchart Gardens.
Officials say Saturday is expected to be their busiest day of the year.
Today is also the busiest travel day of 2018.
Wind gusts of up to 100 km/h forced B-C Ferries to cancel more than 80 sailings on 13 routes on Thursday.
Spokesperson Deborah Marshall says Friday is a catch-up day, and reservations are at capacity.
"We do have four vessels in operation between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen, with lots of extra sailings scheduled today. But we will add extra sailings at the end of the day, if necessary."
The storm was not without tragedy. A woman in a tent was killed by a falling tree in Duncan, B-C.