Thousands still without power after ice storms hit Fraser Valley
BC Hydro says Mission and Abbotsford were the hardest hit communities.
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ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — Crews are working in icy conditions in British Columbia's Fraser Valley, trying to restore power to thousands of customers left without electricity following intense ice storms in the region.
Two storms slammed the area Thursday and Friday, coating trees, roads and everything in between with a thick layer of ice.
The weight of the ice snapped tree branches and downed power lines throughout the region, leaving about 120,000 people were left without electricity, said BC Hydro spokeswoman Tanya Fish.
Around 29,000 were still without power Saturday afternoon.
"It's been a very challenging couple of days for our crews. We're repairing extensive damage to our system caused by the freezing rain," Fish said.
BC Hydro has a team of in-house meteorologists who track weather that could cause damage to infrastructure and plans were put in place to respond to the winter storm, she added.
"We were ready for this one. We did have crews on standby on Thursday anticipating that storm," Fish said. "Obviously, it's extremely challenging conditions and the damage to our system was so extensive that repairs are taking longer than we'd like."
BC Hydro has brought in extra crews from Vancouver Island and the Southern Interior to help with repairs, but conditions have at times been difficult and dangerous.
Fish said roads in the area were icy Friday, visibility was poor and ice-loaded branches crashed down around crews as they worked.
No one was injured, but BC Hydro cut back on the workload to ensure the crews' safety, Fish said.
By Saturday, conditions had improved, with clear skies and less precipitation falling, allowing workers to concentrate on repairing damage from the storms.
Fish said it's not clear when power will be restored for all customers, but work will continue throughout the night Saturday, if necessary.
Officials are reminding people to keep their distance and call 911 should they see a downed power line.