B.C. storm batters power systems and roads
High winds and heavy rain continue to affect roads, hydro and ferry service
The winds, rain and snow may have abated in British Columbia, but the damage they caused to power systems, roads and highways continues.
Reports of major power outages throughout British Columbia were streaming in as a storm surged on the South Coast, with winds up to 120 kilometres an hour recorded in some parts of the province.
Wind warnings for Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley were lifted by Tuesday night.
BC Hydro said 56,000 customers were without power as of 10:00 p.m. PT. At the height of the storm, 110,000 people were without power.
The power on Vancouver's Lions Gate Bridge was partially out earlier on Tuesday evening. Video on Twitter showed bright blue flashes near the bridge just before the power went out.
What are the blue flashes happening in Vancouver harbor? <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCVancouver">@CBCVancouver</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/CityofVancouver">@CityofVancouver</a> <a href="https://t.co/TM8Wp0rPwL">pic.twitter.com/TM8Wp0rPwL</a>—@SeanDGwilson
Another video taken in Coquitlam showed a similar sudden flash of light. BC Hydro said crews were investigating a power outage that affected 2,900 customers.
transformers blowing on Austin and Mundy in Coquitlam <a href="https://twitter.com/bchydro">@bchydro</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/bcstorm?src=hash">#bcstorm</a> <a href="https://t.co/fXPKXP8AuU">pic.twitter.com/fXPKXP8AuU</a>—@alexislowther
BC Hydro said it was working on restoring services, but it could take well into Wednesday before they would be fully restored.
Winds up to 120 km/h
CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe said westerly winds were strong on the South Coast throughout the evening.
Peak winds were recorded in the following areas:
- Hope: 121 km/h
- Victoria: 99 km/h
- Tofino: 79 km/h
- Abbotsford: 83 km/h
- Race Rocks (south Vancouver Island): 114 km/h
- Vancouver International Airport: 63 km/h
Many highways and roads throughout the region remain closed due to poor conditions and accidents, according to DriveBC.
- Highway 3A is closed in both directions between Castlegar and Creston because of downed power lines.
- Highway 14 in Metchosin, on Vancouver Island, is reduced to single lane alternating traffic from Kangaroo Road in Metchosin to Happy Valley Road in Langford because of downed power lines.
- Highway 3 is reduced to single lane alternating traffic in both directions nine kilometres west of Keremeos because of a rock slide. It's also closed in both directions at Skagit Bluffs due to downed power lines.
- Highway 7 is reduced to single lane alternating traffic in both directions near Harrison Mills because of debris flow.
Visit the DriveBC website for the latest updates.
STILL waiting for Hwy1 to open, snow has intensified. Everyone now scrambling to put chains on. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/trucking?src=hash">#trucking</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BCStorm?src=hash">#BCStorm</a> <a href="https://t.co/aL8nFZScRt">pic.twitter.com/aL8nFZScRt</a>—@BluejaysRoger
BC Ferries announced more sailing cancellations on Tuesday. Service between Tsawwassen and the southern Gulf Islands was cancelled for the rest of the day, as was the Mill Bay to Brentwood Bay route.
Vancouver's False Creek Ferries also announced cancellations on most of its routes.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HeadsUp?src=hash">#HeadsUp</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BrentwoodBay?src=hash">#BrentwoodBay</a> - <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MillBay?src=hash">#MillBay</a> sailing cancellations due to severe weather. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ServiceNotice?src=hash">#ServiceNotice</a> to follow. ^cf—@BCFerries
SERVICE BULLETIN: Ferries between the Aquatic Centre and <a href="https://twitter.com/granville_isle">@granville_isle</a> are temporarily suspended due to high wind.—@FalseCreekFerry
Fraser Valley hit hard
Earlier on Tuesday, Chilliwack seemed to be bearing the brunt of the storm. Resident Carissa Kampman took to twitter to announce, "Just watched our barn roof fly off.... Ok wind you can go away."
CBC confirmed with Kampman that everyone was fine, and that the cows had been moved to a safe location before the roof was lost.
In Chilliwack, a dangerous situation unfolded on Patton Avenue, where video posted to social media shows a downed power line shooting out a large showers of sparks and fire.