BC Hydro prepares for challenging storm season due to drought conditions
VANCOUVER: With storm season here, BC Hydro is warning customers to be prepared for weather-related power outages caused by weakened trees and drought, especially on the South Coast.
Over the past few years, climate change has created back-to-back extreme weather events that may reach a critical point this storm season. For example, last year’s heat dome combined with flooding last fall, ice storms in 2018 and 2019 among others, have all had significant impacts on vegetation in B.C. These events, coupled with a quieter than normal storm season last year due to limited strong winds, have BC Hydro’s meteorologist predicting a greater likelihood for substantial damage this storm season because there is a healthy stock of wind-vulnerable trees.
Conditions this year are similar to those in 2015 and 2018 when storms caused significant power outages due to situations that were made worse by drought conditions. Trees that have been impacted by the drought will not show immediate visible effects. However, drought conditions have impacted the small structural roots that provide trees with stability, making them more susceptible to wind of any speed.
BC Hydro prepares for storm season year-round and is increasing its vegetation management program this year given the drought and weather-related challenges. Crews perform regular maintenance work to help minimize the impact adverse weather can have on the electrical system. This includes inspecting trees and other tall vegetation growing near BC Hydro infrastructure to identify potential problems. Trees and adverse weather are the single biggest cause for power outages in B.C. – more than half of all power outages are caused by trees and bad weather.
BC Hydro always encourages customers to be prepared for a power outage by:
- Having an emergency kit: supplies should last for at least 72 hours and include a flashlight, extra batteries, first aid kit, non-perishable foods, and bottled water.
- Knowing where to get the latest outage updates: customers can visit bchydro.com/outages from their mobile device for the most up-to-date information.
- Understanding the dangers of electrical equipment: a downed or damaged power line should always be considered an emergency even if it is not smoking, sparking, or making a buzzing sound. Always assume the line is live, stay back at least 10 metres (the length of a bus) and call 9-1-1 to report.
For more information on power outages and safety, visit bchydro.com/outages.
BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604 928 6468