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Winter storm wreaks havoc across Greater Victoria

More than 32,000 BC Hydro customers without power on Vancouver Island

Local police and motorists are reporting issues on roadways across Greater Victoria after the region’s first snowfall of the winter season.

Saanich South MLA Lana Popham posted a video on Twitter of the Pat Bay Highway in Saanich near Sayward Road. Traffic was moving on Highway 17 but snowfall was accumulating on the roadway. She noted there are a lot of problems on sideroads in the area.

Shortly after 2 p.m., BC Ferries cancelled the 7 p.m. sailing out of Swartz Bay and the 9 p.m. leaving Tsawwassen citing weather – specifically high winds.

Shortly after noon, Central Saanich Police Service noted multiple reports of crashes on Keating Cross Road affecting traffic in both directions. Police are asking residents to avoid that area. The road was closed, and reopened shortly after 2 p.m.

The Sidney Volunteer Fire Department is warning of multiple reports of wires down across the municipality.

As of noon, BC Hydro is reporting more than 32,000 customers on Vancouver Island without power.

The areas hit the hardest after morning snowfall and rain included Duncan with 13,700 customers out, followed by the Gulf Islands with 6,800 customers out, Greater Victoria with 5,600 and Nanaimo with 3,800.

Most of the outages in Greater Victoria are on the Saanich Peninsula.

ALSO READ: Snowplows clearing Malahat with up to 25 cm expected

Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for the Trans-Canada Highway from Goldstream to Mill Bay, with 15 to 25 centimetres of snow expected on Dec. 21. Heavy precipitation comes thanks to a pacific low moving eastward south of Vancouver Island. Environment Canada says that as temperatures cool, heavy rain will “gradually switch to heavy wet snow” at high elevations.

Some portions of the region are likely to see 20 cm, while lower regions can expect about five centimetres. The snow is expected to end by late afternoon as the system moves east.

BC Transit is warning riders in Greater Victoria of possible delays relating to weather conditions.

Crews are busy repairing damaged lines, power poles and transformers. In a statement, BC Hydro said it has all available resources working throughout the day and into the night to restore power. BC Hydro is also reminding the public to follow physical distancing guideline and provide crews with the space they need to complete work safely. A downed power line is considered an emergency situation and members of the public should stay at least 10 metres back and call 911 immediately.

Heavy rainfall also caused combined stormwater and wastewater overflows along some shorelines in Greater Victoria Monday. The affected areas include between Arbutus Cove Lane and Telegraph Bay Road in Saanich, between Tarn Place (Oak Bay) and Seaview Road (Saanich) which includes Cadboro Bay, and between Trafalgar Park and Radcliffe Lane including McNeill Bay in Oak Bay.


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