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Thousands still without power in southwest B.C. after brutal windstorm

People walk past a large tree that was downed during a windstorm in downtown Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday August 29, 2015. A powerful windstorm caused chaos in southwestern British Columbia on Saturday, knocking out power to 330,000 homes and felling trees that crushed cars and critically injured a woman.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
August 30, 2015 - 10:30 AM

VANCOUVER - Hydro crews continue working to reconnect tens of thousands of customers who lost power as a windstorm swept across southwestern British Columbia.

BC Hydro says an estimated 500,000 customers were left in the dark Saturday as 80 kilometre an hour winds brought trees and branches crashing down onto power lines, cars — and in Surrey onto a woman in her 40s who was walking with her daughter.

The RCMP described the woman's injuries as life-threatening.

The bulk of the outages occurred in the Greater Vancouver Area, and BC Hydro says that as of 5 a.m. Sunday approximately 187,000 customers were still waiting for the power to be restored.

Strong winds also swept through Rock Creek in the Kootenay Boundary region, where a 44-square-kilometre wildfire destroyed 30 homes earlier this month.

The storm triggered wind warnings from Environment Canada, forced the temporary closure of Vancouver's Stanley Park, and slowed ferry service between Victoria and the mainland.

The cost of the extensive property damage and the bill for cleaning up the huge mess have yet to be tallied.

BC Hydro said in a release that crews are addressing public safety issues first and "aim to get power back for highest density areas in order to get as many customers back as possible."

"We're hoping to restore power to the majority of customers by noon Sunday," the utility said.

A man works to remove a large tree that fell over on a van during a windstorm in the west end of downtown Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday August 29, 2015.
A man works to remove a large tree that fell over on a van during a windstorm in the west end of downtown Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday August 29, 2015.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

News from © The Canadian Press, 2015
The Canadian Press

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