Vancouver was in clean-up mode Friday morning after Thursday’s wind storm that battered the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley downing trees and powerlines across the region.
At the height of the storm, BC Hydro reported that more than 300,000 customers on the South Coast were without power with the hardest hit areas in Surrey, Nanaimo, Victoria, Duncan and Abbotsford.
As of Friday morning, more than 2,000 homes in Vancouver were still without power and some customers could remain in the dark for a couple of days.
“Yesterday’s windstorm was one of the most severe storms BC Hydro has experienced in years,” reads a statement on the company’s website. “It caused extensive damage across Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley. All available crews will be working until the remaining customers are restored. Due to the extent of the damage, many customers will be without power throughout the day and for some customers it could be a couple of days.”
Students at two Vancouver schools got an early start to the Christmas break. University Hill elementary and Norma Rose Point schools were closed Friday due to the power outage. Both schools are on the University Endowment Lands, which still had more than 1,700 customers without power as of Friday morning.
“We apologize for the inconvenience this will cause families however we are unable to provide a safe learning environment for students,” the school board said in a post on its website.
Vancouver Park Board closed several attractions and all of Stanley Park, including the seawall Thursday due to the high winds. Bright Nights at Stanley Park, Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden and Holiday Heights at Bloedel Conservatory were all closed for the night but everything was back up and running Friday.
According to City of Vancouver staff, city crews were called to 176 street tree work requests, which could include fallen branches, broken branches and fallen trees. Twelfth Avenue between Kingsway and Fraser Street was closed Thursday and into Friday afternoon as crews worked to remove fallen trees.