This story was updated at 2:19 pm
Weather-related power outages hit B.C. on Thursday morning (Oct. 27), with Surrey among the hardest-hit areas.
Strong winds and heavy rain resulted in power outages to more than 62,000 BC Hydro customers, according to the utility.
A downed power line on Highway 1, near Brunette Avenue, closed it to traffic in both directions. BC Hydro said it will take several hours to complete, possibly until around 3 p.m.
At 2:14 p.m., the Ministry of Transportation said “a full closure of Highway 1 is necessary on Thursday afternoon for BC Hydro crews to safely repair lines that came down during this morning’s strong winds.”
Highway 1 westbound was closed at Brunette, while eastbound lanes closed at Gaglardi Way.
Earlier in the day, BC Hydro said it had restored power to about 16,000 customers, and additional outages are expected as the storm continues.
As of 11:15 a.m., there were 46,000 customers without power.
The regional breakdown:
Lower Mainland: 19,000 customers without power. The hardest hit areas include Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey.
Vancouver Island/Gulf Islands: 16,000 customers without power. The hardest hit areas include Duncan and Port Alberni.
North: 5,200 customers without power. The hardest hit area includes Fort St. James.
Central Interior: 1,900 customers without power. The hardest hit area includes Prince George.
Thompson/Shuswap: 3,700 customers without power. The hardest hit areas include 100 Mile House and Revelstoke.
On Wednesday, BC Hydro said months of record-breaking dry weather have set B.C. up for the perfect storm. Drought-stricken trees are far more likely to become uprooted or snap in half as the windy season picks up. As a result, British Columbians could be facing more serious power outages this fall and winter than in a typical year.
Thursday’s wind and rain has brought down dozens of drought-weakened trees and branches. “All available BC Hydro crews and contractor crews will continue to work around-the-clock to repair damage and restore power to customers.”
BC Hydro reminds people to stay away from downed lines. A downed power line is an emergency. Call 911 and stay at least 10 metres back. BC Hydro crews will work with first responders to make the area safe.