Stories & Features

5 things to know when freezing rain and outages hit

Freezing rain on trees in Chilliwack
Freezing rain coats trees in Chilliwack in wake of storm.

Crews have restored power to more than 360,000 customers in six days

This story was updated on Saturday, Feb. 11.

The forecast for freezing rain in the Fraser Valley and other parts of southwest B.C. was, unfortunately, bang on.

Crews have restored over 361,000 customers impacted by storms over the last six days. All available resources are actively working to restore power for the remainder of customers out. Due to difficult access and extensive damage, some customers are experiencing lengthy and/or multiple outages. Please don't attempt to remove tree branches, and if you come across a downed power line, assume it's live and dangerous and call 911. Thank you for your continued patience and support.

Here are five things to consider if you're in areas impacted by freezing rain and/or power outages. And you should always check power outages information by map or by list on bchydro.com.

  1. Trees suffer most in freezing rain
    It’s the weight of the frozen rain on branches that causes the damage. Branches can fall on houses, cars and – of course – on power lines. If freezing rain hits, expect that there will be power outages and that BC Hydro crews will be busy restoring power.

  2. If the power goes out, be prepared
    If there are a lot of outages, power could be out for hours. And if that happens, you’ll need to have emergency supplies ready, notably flashlights , blankets and something to eat, like granola bars. When we face a lot of power outages at once, we address public safety issues first, and then focus on outages that affect the most people first. Read the 7 things you should know about how we restore your power.

  3. Consider keeping the car parked
    The snow of recent weeks has been bad enough. Freezing rain could make it even more dangerous to drive. When streets are treacherous, consider leaving the car parked. There's also a good chance public  transit could be slowed or even stopped if the storm is severe.

  4. It's important to be a wary pedestrian
    Branches can fall from trees, so avoid walking under them. And give drivers a break before you use the crosswalk – cars can lose control or take a lot longer to come to a stop.

  5. If it's Down, it’s Danger. Dial 911.
    If you see a downed power line, it’s dangerous. Take care to stay at least 10 metres back (the length of a school bus), warn others to stay back, too. And dial 911. If, on the other hand, you’re trying to report a power outage at your home or business, here’s the routine: Check bchydro.com’s outage map or list to see if we already know that your power is out. If your outage isn't listed, call 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376) or *HYDRO (*49376) on your mobile phone to report it.