Tens of thousands of homes and businesses lost power as powerful winds walloped B.C.’s South Coast overnight and into Saturday morning.
Environment Canada issued wind warnings for the Fraser Valley, Greater Victoria, the Southern Gulf Islands, Howe Sound and the Central Coast on Friday afternoon, with the gusts picking up in the evening and lasting through the night.
Gusts reached 90 km/h for the Fraser Valley and eastern parts of Metro Vancouver, including Langley, Surrey, Maple Ridge and White Rock. Greater Victoria also saw 90 km/h gusts. Further up the coast, winds peaked in excess of 100 km/h.
The winds broke branches off trees and blew other forms of debris through neighbourhoods across the Lower Mainland.
On Highway 1 near Clearbook, a large tree was toppled by the winds, blocking the highway in both directions. It reopened just before 7 a.m.
As of Saturday afternoon, more than 3,000 customers were without power in the Fraser Valley, Metro Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast. The Surrey-Langley area alone saw thousands of outages due to multiple felled trees.
In Surrey, a power outage affected a pump station in the area around 24 Avenue and 152 Street, disrupting water service for residents.
Ray Kerr, Surrey’s manager of engineering operations, said early Saturday afternoon that the situation has been resolved and water is now flowing for those homes and businesses.
On Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, downed wires and trees caused an additional 3,000 outages as of Saturday afternoon.
BC Hydro said 52,000 customers were without power at the height of the storm, and the utility pleaded for patience as crews worked to restore service.
BC Ferries sailings between Alliford Bay and Skidegate in Haida Gwaii were cancelled on Saturday morning due to adverse weather.
The winds later forced BC Ferries to cancel multiple sailings between Horseshoe Bay, Langdale and Departure Bay from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Environment Canada said the winds were expected to die down across the region later Saturday.