British Columbia

2nd storm to blast B.C.'s South Coast with high winds overnight

There is more high wind and heavy rain for the South Coast of B.C. on Thursday evening when a second in a series of fall storms is forecast to hit the region.

The 3rd and largest storm is expected to arrive on Saturday when the remnant of Super Typhoon Songda arrives

Firefighters helped remove debris and branches from the tree that fell onto the family's yard overnight Wednesday. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island residents should brace themselves for a big blow overnight tonight when the second in a series of fall storms is forecast to hit the region.

The first storm hit the area on Wednesday night with winds up 60 km/h knocking out power to thousands on Vancouver Island and across Metro Vancouver.

The weather is forecast to ease during the day on Thursday before the next storm arrives late Thursday night.

The winds are expected to pick up overnight and peak in Metro Vancouver early Friday morning, according to meteorologist Ross MacDonald of Environment Canada.

"It will be a tricky morning commute with the likelihood of some power outages," predicts MacDonald.

"Southeast winds up to 80 km/h can be expected over East Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, Howe Sound near Bowen Island, Southern Gulf Islands and Metro Vancouver, and up to 100 km/h over West Vancouver Island tonight," said a weather warning posted Thursday morning.

"As the low crosses Vancouver Island Friday morning, the winds will shift to southwest 40 gusting to 70 km/h. At this time, Port Alberni will see their strongest winds with gusts up to 90 km/h. These winds will ease midday Friday as the low tracks further inland," said the warning.

Super storm in weekend forecast

While the weather will ease on Friday afternoon, the break will be short-lived, MacDonald warns.

The third and largest storm is expected to arrive on Saturday when the remnants of Super Typhoon Songda arrives, setting the stage for potentially damaging winds over the weekend.

Officials are warning residents that if the storm materializes as expected, they should be prepared for power outages, flooding, downed trees and possibly even landslides.

But as of Thursday morning it remained uncertain exactly where the storm will hit, says MacDonald.

"The exact track is going to be very critical for how strong the winds are going to get."

The third and largest storm is expected to arrive on Saturday when the remnant of Super Typhoon Songda arrives, setting the stage for a potentially damaging winds over the weekend. (Environment Canada)

A worst-case windstorm scenario for the Inner South Coast would be a landfall along central Vancouver Island, bringing damaging winds to the region, including Metro Vancouver.

"I'd say the city would see gusts of 100 km/h in that scenario," warns MacDonald.

Total rainfall accumulations from these storms could exceed 200 mm for West and Inland areas of Vancouver Island. Inner coastal regions could get more than 100 mm with even higher amounts near the mountains."

But conversely, if the storm makes landfall along Washington State, it would not impact B.C. nearly as much.

MacDonald says the mild temperatures associated with the storms mean snow is only expected on the province's higher coastal mountain peaks and interior mountain passes.

Preparations underway

Despite the uncertainty in the forecast, BC Hydro has already deployed additional crews to Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast in anticipation of the storm's arrival.

The River Forecast Centre has issued a high streamflow advisory for all of Vancouver Island, and warns there is the possibility of flood conditions on Saturday and Sunday, particularly in the central part of the island.

A man crosses Fraser Street during a heavy downpour as the first of three storms hit the South Coast of B.C. on Wednesday night. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Local and regional governments in the Lower Mainland have also begun making preparations for the storm.

Metro Vancouver will be closing all trails in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve as of 8 p.m. PT because of the weather, and the Grouse Grind is closed. 

The municipality of Delta will also be closing beach assess points and installing flood protection berms.

In case of high winds, SkyTrain service over the SkyBridge between New Westminster and Surrey may operate at reduced speeds. And if wind speeds exceed 100 km/h, service could be temporarily suspended. However, TransLink says that is unlikely as it has not happened before.

The City of Vancouver is asking residents to clear leaves away from drains and catch basins around their property, including city streets.

An uprooted tree fell on this North Vancouver family's SUV Thusday morning, barely missing the residents' bedrooms. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)