British Columbia

West Coast storm cuts power to 85,000

It was another wet and windy night on the West Coast as a storm blew through, knocking down trees and power lines, dumping snow on mountain highways and forcing BC Ferries to cancel some early morning sailings.

Four Burnaby schools closed by power outages

B.C. skiers are welcoming heavy snowfalls, but a potentially deadly hazard has also made an early appearance, Aarti Pole reports 2:29

It was another wet and windy night on the West Coast as a storm blew through, knocking down trees and power lines, dumping snow on mountain highways and forcing BC Ferries to cancel some early morning sailings.

The storm knocked out power to about 83,000 BC Hydro customers across the Lower Mainland and the Sunshine Coast, and another 5,000 on Vancouver Island as the main front of the storm blew through early Tuesday morning.

BC Hydro said the hardest hit areas were:

  • Surrey – 28,000 customers.
  • Port Coquitlam –15,200 customers.
  • White Rock – 12,000 customers.
  • Burnaby – 8,300 customers.
  • Langley – 7,600 customers.
  • Maple Ridge – 6,700 customers.
  • Vancouver – 5,700 customers.

The high winds forced BC Ferries to cancel the 5:15 a.m. and 7:45 a.m. PT sailings between Tsawwassen and Duke Point near Nanaimo. 

TransLink reported the heavy wind and rain caused stop-and-go service on some SkyTrain routes early Tuesday morning. The West Coast Express was also delayed by a fallen tree and was late arriving in Vancouver.

The stormed knocked out traffic lights across much of Metro Vancouver and knocked trees onto many roads, particularly in the South Surrey area.

In East Vancouver, the storm apparently knocked a brick facade off the second and third storeys of the Cassandra Hotel on Kingsway, knocking a pile of brick onto the road and waking up many residents in the area.

On the North Shore, the storm also knocked out CBC Radio's FM transmitter on Mount Seymour for a short while.

Four public schools in Burnaby were closed because of power outages — Burnaby North Secondary School and Montecito, Seaforth and Aubrey elementary schools. Several smaller Christian schools across the region were also closed because of the storm.

In Langley, the storm knocked out power to about 18 schools but district communications manager Chris Spence said they would remain open.

"If we simply closed schools whenever there's a power outage or a snowstorm, we could lose five to 10 instructional days, so we do our best to deliver the educational program if it's safe to do so and if it can be done practically," said Spence.

Snow in the mountains

The storm brought a big blast of snow to mountains across southern B.C., including the Whistler-Blackcomb resort, which got 72 centimetres of new snow, and Cypress Mountain on the North Shore, which got 38 centimetres.

The storm apparently knocked a brick facade off the side of the Cassandra Hotel at 3075 Kingsway near Rupert Street. (Steve Lus/CBC)

The avalanche danger in the Sea-to-Sky region was rated extreme and Highway 99 was closed in both directions in the Duffy Lakes area, north of Pemberton, because of high avalanche risk.

Across much of the rest of B.C., the avalanche risk was rated high. In the Southern Interior, heavy snow and freezing rain were reported on Highway 3 and Highway 3A, as well as the Coquihalla Highway.