British Columbia

B.C. storm batters power systems and roads

A severe storm hit B.C's South Coast on Tuesday, bringing high winds and heavy rain and affecting power, roads and ferries.

High winds and heavy rain continue to affect roads, hydro and ferry service

A blue glow fills the night sky as power transformers blow, causing outages on Vancouver's North Shore. (Sean Wilson/Twitter)

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.

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. 

BC Hydro said it was working on restoring services, but it could take well into Wednesday before they would be fully restored.

Visit the BC Hydro website for the latest updates

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
The Vancouver Park Board is warning drivers and other residents that strong winds are causing trees to fall in Stanley Park. (Vancouver Park Board/Twitter)

Road conditions

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

Ferry cancellations

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

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.

Chilliwack resident Carissa Kampman watched the wind remove the barn roof on her family's farm. (Carissa Kampman)

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.

Strong winds knocked over this shed in Chilliwack, B.C. (Anthony Van Leeuwen/Twitter)