British Columbia

Power outages, cancelled ferries, SkyTrain disruptions: High winds blast B.C.'s South Coast

BC Ferries cancelled multiple sailings between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, citing adverse weather. The Vancouver Park Board also closed Stanley Park due to wind.

Weather warnings, special statements in effect across province's south

Quinn Balleny-Scully, 8, plays around debris from a catamaran that broke up off Kits Beach in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Friday. Strong winds gusted up to 90 km/h in parts of B.C. on Friday, including the Lower Mainland. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Winds gusting at up to 90 km/h have forced ferry cancellations on the South Coast, as a cold front Friday sent blustery weather through southern and central B.C. 

Environment Canada issued wind warnings for Metro Vancouver, Greater Victoria and the Southern Gulf Islands on Friday, predicting strong northwest winds of 70 to 90 km/h beginning Friday morning.

The agency warned the wind may be strong enough to send loose objects or tree branches flying.

SkyTrain service partially suspended

TransLink suspended SkyTrain service between Commercial Broadway and Metrotown stations at around 5:30 p.m PT due to a branch on the track. 

By 6 p.m., limited service had been restored, with some trains operating on a single track.

Ferry cancellations

BC Ferries cancelled multiple sailings between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland Friday, citing adverse weather.

"It can be extremely challenging docking at a terminal like Tsawwassen which is quite exposed. And when we do get the high winds it can be extremely uncomfortable for customers travelling on our vessels," said BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall. 

Marshall is urging customers who do not need to travel Friday to wait until this weekend. She said with thousands of people impacted by the cancellations, the Tsawwassen terminal is exceptionally busy. 

 The ferry cancellations could last into the evening. Service is expected to resume at 7 p.m. at the earliest after staff gets the go-ahead by the BC Ferries operations team. 

The Coast Guard responded to a vessel that started taking on water as a result of high winds in False Creek on Friday. (Submitted by Steve Pither)

The ferries aren't the only ocean-going vessels impacted by the wind.

The Coast Guard's environmental response crew was called out to take care of a boat in False Creek which they said was taking on water and in danger of sinking due to the wind. 

It's now been towed to the Kitsilano base where the owner is looking after it. 

Downed trees, branches throughout city

The wind also caused a surprise for Marty Braverman, who was parked along 33rd Avenue in Vancouver.

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      Braverman came back from lunch to discover a tree had fallen onto his BMW. 

      "I'd say there's several thousand dollars worth of damage there," Braverman said. 

      "It was windy but I wasn't expecting it to be that bad and come back and see a tree down on my car."

      Power outages, Stanley Park closure

      The storm caused 120,500 BC Hydro customers to lose power.  

      "The vast majority of those are wind-storm related, and it's quite widespread." Hastings said, with the outages ranging from Vancouver Island to the Southern Interior.  

      BC Hydro has dispatched crews across the province and brought in extra contract workers to restore power. 

      But it's warning customers in the hardest hit areas to prepare to be without power overnight, including the Interior communities of Chase, Sicamous, Salmon Arm and 100 Mile House, along with Dawson Creek in northeastern B.C.

      The Vancouver Park Board also closed Stanley Park due to wind.

      In Metro Vancouver, including Richmond and Delta, the forecast called for gusts of up to 90 km/h near the ocean.

      Slightly weaker gusts were expected further south, and Environment Canada has issued special weather statements for the Nicola, Thompson, Okanagan, Shuswap, Fraser Valley, Metro Vancouver and southern Gulf Islands regions.

      The wind was expected to ease by early Friday evening.

      A woman photographs debris from a ship wreck at Kits Beach in Vancouver. (Ben Nelms/CBC)
       
      A man watches the waves at Jericho Beach in Vancouver. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

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