Winds hitting Metro Vancouver, Greater Victoria and the Southern Gulf Islands were gusting between 70 and 90 kilometres per hour Saturday morning, and Environment Canada’s wind warning is expected to last into the afternoon.
Southern parts of Metro Vancouver — including Richmond, Delta and Tsawwassen — saw wind gusts of 90 kilometres per hour near the water, with inland areas seeing winds between 50 and 70 kilometres per hour.
That was enough to cause several ferry cancellations between Tsawwassen and both Swartz Bay and Duke Point, with cancellations also announced between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay in Nanaimo.
The cancellations affected sailings until after 1 p.m., with BC Ferries anticipating sailings to resume at 3 p.m. You can see all of BC Ferries’ cancellations here.
The winds have not been definitively linked to any power outages in the region.
As of noon Saturday, 174 customers in Delta were without power, along with 980 in Campbell River and Powell River.
There are also roughly 2,000 customers without power in Parksville and Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island.
The winds forced workers at the Port of Vancouver to briefly suspend operations over safety concerns, but the port said it expects work to resume later Saturday.
West Vancouver was forced to close the Seawalk on the district’s waterfront after waves kicked up by the winds created “unsafe conditions.”
More snow, rain on the way
The high winds come as Metro Vancouver cleans up from the first major snowfall of the season — and prepares for round two.
A new snowfall warning for the Lower Mainland and the North Shore is promising up to 15 centimetres to accumulate between Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at higher elevation areas in West Vancouver, North Vancouver and Coquitlam, according to Environment Canada.
While the weather agency says five to 10 centimetres could fall on lower elevations, forecasters say the precipitation will likely be a mix of rain and wet snow, and will be unpredictable throughout the day Sunday.
Whether snow accumulates in cities like Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster will largely depend on the proximity to the water, wind direction and other factors, they add.
Richmond, Delta and other communities south of the Fraser River like Surrey and Langley will likely see more rain than snow, which Environment Canada says is due to high winds through Saturday evening.
The new snow warning comes after several parts of the South Coast saw the first major snowfall of 2020 on Friday, creating sloppy driving conditions throughout the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island.
Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley saw a wide range of snowfall totals: while six centimetres fell on Abbotsford, Surrey saw 12 centimetres, and a whopping 20 centimetres blanketed Coquitlam’s Westwood Plateau.
The mix of snow, wet snow and rain along with gusty winds caused “ice bombs” to fall onto drivers crossing the Port Mann and Alex Fraser bridges Friday morning.
BC Ferries travellers were also plagued with cancellations Friday, with sailings being affected by the winds until mid-afternoon.
The pattern of cold winter weather is set to continue well into next week for the entire South Coast, with temperatures set to plunge to freezing and below freezing levels.
All of southern B.C. is anticipated to settle into an even deeper freeze starting this weekend, with Environment Canada warning temperatures will fall lower than they’ve been in years around this time.
You can see all of B.C.’s weather alerts here.