Power outages, ferry crossings delayed as high winds batter British Columbia

Thousands of BC Hydro customers were without power Friday night as ferry crossings between Vancouver and Victoria were delayed by two hours as a severe storm hit parts of Metro Vancouver and the South Coast.

Hydro crews responded to power outages that affected 1,402 customers in Surrey and Langley on Friday afternoon and 263 customers in Vancouver. Most of those issues were resolved as of 8:00 p.m. PT, though about 50 homes in Metro Vancouver are still without power.

BC Hydro said a transmission circuit outage on Highway 99 north of Vancouver supplied hundreds of customers and 31 Sunshine Coast homes also lost power.

On Mayne Island, 1,629 customers were affected by two separate outages, with Saturna, Pender and Salt Spring Islands recording smaller outages affecting 10, 5 and 50 people respectively. As of 10:30 p.m. Friday, BC Hydro said crews are making good progress, but a small number of customers on the islands of Saturna, Mayne and Salt Spring will be without power overnight.

The storm, which blew between 60 and 90 km/h, caused the cancellation of some Friday afternoon ferry crossings between Vancouver and Victoria.

“I was going to take the 5 p.m. ferry to Victoria,” said Meenal Gitshi, who came to Burnaby’s Tsawassen Terminal hoping to visit family on Friday evening.

“It wasn’t so bad [in Burnaby] But by the time I got to the ferry terminal side, it was really bad,” she said. “I understand why they don’t sail.”

BC Ferries initially said service between the Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay terminals was canceled until at least 6 p.m. PT, but the weather had improved enough for departures to resume at 5 p.m. All departures from 3 p.m. were delayed by two hours.

Just after 7 p.m., the ferry service said Sunshine Coast services were no longer under threat of cancellation and were operating as planned, while service to the Gulf Islands had resumed but was delayed.

Environment and Climate Change Canada warnings say the storm is expected to hit parts of Metro Vancouver and the South Coast by Friday evening. The same winds are expected to hit parts of the Strait of Georgia including eastern Vancouver Island, the southern Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast.

The Weather and Climate Agency also warned that high winds could damage buildings, clapboards and windows, and uproot trees, causing power outages across the region.

Motorists are urged to monitor agency warnings and forecasts before driving on highways in affected areas.


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