British Columbia

Wind warning issued for Prince Rupert amid safety concerns at local hospital

A roof at the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital has been secured following concerns about its stability and structural integrity during high winds as another storm hits the B.C. coast. 

Officials worried debris from damaged roof could have fallen to ground, causing injuries

A power line is seen knocked down by heavy winds in Prince Rupert, B.C. on Nov. 24, 2021. Environment Canada issued a wind warning for the area, with gusts of up to 110 km/h expected. (Submitted by Sara Ridgway)

A roof at the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital has been secured following concerns about its stability and structural integrity during high winds as another storm hits the B.C. coast. 

Northern Health says there was a worry that debris from the already damaged roof could fall to the ground below. 

The hospital said it had closed access to the main patient and staff parking lot to keep people safe and had put up signage to help people enter and exit the building safely. All tape and barriers have now been removed as of 5:20 p.m. PT, and the hospital's parking lot has reopened.

The health authority says neither the emergency department nor the main hospital entrances are affected at this time, but the situation continues to evolve. 

Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued a wind warning for the North Coast, and says strong winds may cause damage to roof shingles and windows.

Cara Hall, who has lived in Prince Rupert since 2017, says gusts were so strong they ripped her heavy wooden planter out and flung it across her yard.

"This storm is just really intense. Plus there's extra fear added because of everything that's going on down south," she said.

"Even though I think our infrastructure is probably built a little bit differently ... it's still a little bit nerve racking."

Forecasters say southerly winds of 90 km/h could gust to 110 km/h all day and night on Wednesday.

Container ship MSC Altair ran aground due to high winds in Prince Rupert on Nov. 24 2021. (Submitted by Sara Ridgway)

Ship runs aground due to high winds

More than 1,000 people are affected by multiple power outages in Prince Rupert as of 7 p.m. PT on Wednesday, one of which was caused by a downed power pole. The causes of the other two outages are being investigated, according to B.C. Hydro's website.

A 366-metre long container ship had run aground near the city's Fairview Container Terminal due to high winds in the area, but the port authority now says the vessel has been refloated.

A tree is seen downed after windstorms hit the northern city of Prince Rupert, B.C. (Submitted by Leslie Hall)

"I've been in a lot of wind storms in Prince Rupert, and this one seems to be one of the strongest ones I've ever experienced," said Leslie Moore, who has lived in the city for 40 years. "Never, ever, seen a container ship go up on the rocks like that."

The MSC Altair ran aground on Digby Island at around 2 p.m. PT on Wednesday, according to a spokesperson for the Prince Rupert Port Authority. No injuries have been reported due to the incident.

"Initial reports indicate no significant damage to the vessel, and no indications of marine pollution are apparent," the spokesperson said in a statement.

With files from Betsy Trumpener, Tom Popyk, and Matt Allen


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