NEWS

Thousands still without power following B.C. windstorm

03/13/2012 11:41 EDT | Updated 05/13/2012 05:12 EDT

About 24,000 BC Hydro customers were still waiting for the power to come back on Tuesday morning following Monday's windstorm on the south coast of B.C.

Most of the affected customers are in the Campbell River, Courtenay and Comox areas of Vancouver Island, as well as Saanich and the Gulf Islands and Powell River on the Sunshine Coast.

BC Hydro spokesman Ted Olynyck says most customers on the southern and northern ends of the Vancouver Island can expect power to be restored by this evening.

But Olynck warns that given the extent of the damage around Campbell River and Courtenay, there's no guarantees when the power will come back on.

"We have a number of poles down in areas, broken poles, lines down, cross arms broken, so it is a lot of work up there and that is why we are bringing in extra crews," he said.

Meanwhile Environment Canada is warning more southeast winds of 60 to 100 km/h are expected to hit the South Coast and Central Coast on Wednesday.

At the height of the windstorm, about 110,000 BC Hydro customers were without power as the storm raked the South Coast with winds of around 100 km/h, dragging boats on their anchors, toppling trees and forcing BC Ferries to cancel sailings on 12 routes.

Some of the worst damage was in Campbell River, where falling trees cut power to thousands and closed several roads and highways, with one gust clocking in at 137 km/h.

The storm also brought some snow to Vancouver Island. A commuter bus with 15 passengers on board slid off the highway between Port Alberni and Ucluelet. Nobody was injured in the incident.

In Vancouver's Stanley Park, fallen trees near Prospect Point closed a southbound exit from the causeway. Crews are expected to clear the road on Tuesday.

Much of B.C. also remains under a high avalanche risk warning following several days of heavy snow in the mountains and travellers are advised to be prepared for winter driving conditions on mountain passes.

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