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More than 260,000 without power as windstorm hits B.C.’s South Coast

Click to play video: 'Global exclusive: Windstorm brings down trees and causes widespread power outages' Global exclusive: Windstorm brings down trees and causes widespread power outages
WATCH: Global exclusive: Windstorm brings down trees and causes widespread power outages – Dec 20, 2018

Strong winds led to ferry cancellations, power outages, and felled trees across B.C.’s South Coast Thursday.

BC Hydro is still dealing with well over 100 weather-related outages, affecting more than 260,000 customers in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Sunshine Coast and on Vancouver Island.

At the peak of the outages, more than 310,000 people were without power, and BC Hydro says it has already turned the lights back on for 240,000 people since the storm began.

The B.C. Coroner’s Service is investigating the death of a woman in Duncan possibly related to a fallen tree. It is expected to provide an update on the incident on Friday.

WATCH: Vancouver suburbs pummeled by windstorm

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Vancouver suburbs pummeled by windstorm – Dec 20, 2018

In White Rock, crews were called to conduct a rescue after someone became trapped on the city’s seaside pier.

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Victoria Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre spokesperson Katelyn Moores said a helicopter crew was able to successfully pluck the person to safety just after 3:30 p.m.

WATCH: Dramatic escape from collapsed White Rock pier

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Dramatic escape from collapsed White Rock pier – Dec 20, 2018

READ MORE: Man rescued from partially collapsed White Rock pier

Multiple sailings between Tsawwassen and Duke Point were cancelled, as were sailings between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay — all because of high winds.

Sailings between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen resumed as scheduled as of 6 p.m.

However, travellers planning to use the ferries Friday will want to arrive early, as reservations on all major southern routes were already sold out by Thursday afternoon.

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WATCH: Wind damage, power outages in Langley

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Wind damage, power outages in Langley – Dec 20, 2018

The storm also caused serious damage around the region.

“There is extensive damage from branches and trees breaking and coming into contact with BC Hydro’s electrical equipment,” Scott Mora with BC Hydro said in a statement.

“Continued strong winds have made damage assessment and repairs difficult, but where safe, crews are busy repairing damaged power lines, poles and transformers.”

As of Thursday evening, a warning from Environment Canada remained in effect, with gusts of 70 to 90 kilometres an hour were in the forecast.

“This is a significant wind storm and could cause widespread damage,” the warning said.

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The strongest reported gust measured 123 kilometres an hour at Sand Heads station in the southern Strait of Georgia.

WATCH: Raw video from Maple Ridge shows trees and power lines down

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Maple Ridge storm damage – Dec 20, 2018

READ MORE: UPDATE: Windstorm battering B.C.’s coast; snow to fall inland

The storm also led to some injuries.

A groundskeeper at the Pacific Academy in Surrey was injured by a falling tree while cleaning up the property.

WATCH: Groundskeeper injured by falling tree in Surrey

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Groundskeeper injured by falling tree in Surrey – Dec 20, 2018

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Two trees came down in the area of East 12th Avenue and St. George Street in Vancouver.

Vancouver police said Thursday night that East 12th would remain closed between Fraser Street and Kingsway until Friday morning to allow crews to conduct cleanup.

Vancouver’s Crofton House School cancelled classes for the remainder of the day after it lost power.

A felled tree on Stanley Park Causeway reduced traffic to a single lane in each direction but the park reopened to the public at 5 p.m.

The Bright Nights Christmas Train was also closed for the day.

WATCH: Strong winds hit B.C.’s South Coast

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Strong winds hit B.C.’s South Coast – Dec 20, 2018

There are reports of debris on roads, buildings being blown over and power outages.

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In Abbotsford, police warned of flying debris and asked residents to stay inside if they could.

READ MORE: Winds of up to 90 km/h to hit B.C.’s Lower Mainland on Thursday

Winds were forecast to ease off Thursday evening.

WATCH: Windstorm forces ferry cancellations on busy travel day

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Windstorm forces ferry cancellations on busy travel day – Dec 20, 2018

Harbour Air flights resumed Thursday morning but the company is still asking all travellers to check the status of their flights as conditions may change at any time.

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Vancouver International Airport said the weather is impacting operations and travellers should check their flights before heading to the airport.

Operations on the SkyTrain were affected Thursday as well.

The delays on the Expo Line were cleared by late Thursday afternoon, and disrupted service between Braid and Columbia also resumed.

Whistler-Blackcomb said the Peak 2 Peak gondola was closed for the day due to high winds.

Vancouver Island

On Vancouver Island, winds downed trees and caused delays on roads, particularly in the Alberni Valley.

Here’s a look at the damage at Sproat Lake.

Damage at Sproat Lake, Credit: Allen Felker.
Damage at Sproat Lake, Credit: Allan Felker.

In Tofino, high winds caused multiple downed trees and power lines.

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Residents and visitors were asked to stay inside.

In Nanaimo, a pizza hut sign fell on several cars at Terminal Mall.

The sign fell down during Thursday’s storm. Credit: Jeannine Gillis.

South of the border, more than 140,000 customers have lost power as strong winds move through western Washington.

— With files from Jon Azpiri, Amy Judd and The Associated Press

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