Residents in the Bella Coola Valley have been busy trying to keep up with snow removal after two days of heavy snow in the region. (Rochelle Bonn Facebook)

UPDATE: Highway 20 closed at the hill for avalanche work, power back on for most in Bella Coola

Highway 20 closed at Bella Coola as well

UPDATE: 7 a.m. Sunday

Only a few dozen BC Hydro customers remain without power Sunday morning after a winter storm knocked out power to the entire valley Friday.

“Crews made some temporary repairs today in Bella Coola, restoring power to the majority of customers. We are hoping to restore the remaining customers in Bella Coola by 4 p.m Sunday and in the Firvale area by noon Sunday. We are working to have additional crews brought into the area, but access is difficult due to snow and road closures due to high avalanche risk. We are hoping to have all work completed by Monday at 10 p.m.”

UPDATE: 9:33 pm

BC Hydro said its crews in Bella Coola have made good progress getting power restored to customers.

“(Crews) were able to make temporary repairs in Bella Coola today. They anticipate having 310 customers restored by 10 p.m. (Sunday night). There are still several broken poles and we’re working to have additional line crews brought into the area, along with vegetation crews but access is difficult due to heavy snow and road closures due to high avalanche risk. We are hoping to have all work completed by Monday at 10 p.m.”

Meanwhile, Highway 20 remains closed 34 kms east of Firvale to 38 km west of Anahim Lake due to a high avalanche risk and also between Government Wharf and Labouchere Avenue in Bella Coola for avalanche control work, states DriveBC. Estimated time of opening is not available.

UPDATE: 5:30 p.m. Saturday

It will be another day before power is fully restored to many residents of Bella Coola.

“We’re working to have additional line crews brought into the area, along with vegetation crews but access is difficult due to heavy snow and road closures due to high avalanche risk,” states a BC Hydro update. “We’re hoping to have power restored by 6 p.m. on Sunday, January 5.

The two outages are impacting 311 customers.

Read More: Thousands in southern B.C. without power in aftermath of winter storm

UPDATE: 10 a.m. Saturday

DriveBC is reporting Highway 20 is closed in both directions at the hill, and also in Bella Coola.

“Highway 20, in both directions. Avalanche control work between Government Wharf and Labouchere Ave (Bella Coola). Road closed. Detour not available. Estimated time of opening not available.

“High avalanche hazard between Hunlen Falls Turner Lakes Trailhead and Rainbow Range Trailhead for 19.7 km (34 km east of Firvale to 38 km west of Anahim Lake). Road closed. Estimated time of opening not available.”

Editor’s note: Locals in the valley say the hill was not been reopened for travel since Friday, though DriveBC was not showing avalanche work closures until later Saturday morning.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Highway 20 has reopened with a travel advisory on the hill to the Bella Coola Valley, and BC Hydro crews are making progress following a severe winter storm Jan. 3 brought 40 centimetres of snow to the area.

Heavy snow downed trees and power lines, cutting off power t0 the entire valley and about 1,200 hydro customers Friday, Jan. 3. As of Saturday morning, power has been restored to Hagensborg residents while 309 customers are still out of power in the Bella Coola area.

The power is expected to be completely restored by Saturday evening.

“Several broken poles in the community of Bella Coola have caused an outage to 300 customers. We’re working to have additional line crews brought into the area, along with vegetation crews but access is difficult due to heavy snow and road closures. We’re hoping to have power restored by 6 p.m. on Saturday, January 4.”

Meanwhile, Highway 20 has reopened following a closure to due extreme risk of an avalanche on a section known as the hill, however, travel is not recommended.

Read More: Cancelled flights, avalanche warnings for North Coast regions

“Travel advisory in effect between Rainbow Range Trailhead and Stum Lake Rd for 245.6 km (Alexis Creek to 38 km west of Anahim Lake). Freezing rain. Compact snow. Travel is not recommended unless absolutely necessary,” states DriveBC.

Bella Coola is expected to get another five to 10 cm of snow Saturday.

In Williams Lake, residents can expect blue skies and a daytime high of 2C, with gusty winds for Saturday.


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