Power outages, delayed ferry sailings as strong winds pummel B.C.

Waves are pictured in the Burrard Inlet in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Friday, October 25, 2019.  (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
Waves are pictured in the Burrard Inlet in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Friday, October 25, 2019. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

Thousands of B.C. Hydro customers were without power Friday night, while ferry sailings between Vancouver and Victoria were delayed by two hours as a powerful windstorm hit areas of Metro Vancouver and the South Coast.

Hydro crews responded to power outages affecting 1,402 customers in Surrey and Langley Friday afternoon, as well as 263 customers in Vancouver. The majority of those issues were resolved by 8 p.m. PT, although around 50 households were still without power across Metro Vancouver.

B.C. Hydro said a transmission circuit failure on Highway 99 north of Vancouver knocked out power to hundreds of customers, and 31 households on the Sunshine Coast also lost electricity.

On Mayne Island, 1,629 customers were affected by two separate outages, with Saturna, Pender and Salt Spring Islands seeing smaller outages affecting 10, five and 50 people respectively. By 10:30 p.m. Friday, B.C. Hydro said crews made good progress but a small number of customers on Saturna, Mayne and Salt Spring Islands would be without power overnight.


The windstorm, packing gusts between 60 and 90 km/h, caused the cancellation of a few Friday afternoon ferry sailings between Vancouver and Victoria.

"I was wanting to travel on the 5 p.m. ferry for Victoria," said Meenal Gitshi who came from Burnaby to the Tsawassen terminal hoping to visit family Friday evening.

"It wasn't that bad [in Burnaby] but the moment I came up on the ferry terminal side, it's really bad," she said. "I understand why they're not sailing."

B.C. Ferries initially said service between the Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay terminals was cancelled until at least 6 p.m. PT, but the weather improved enough for sailings to resume at 5 p.m. All of the departures from 3 p.m. onward were delayed by two hours.

Shortly after 7 p.m., the ferry service said sailings on the Sunshine Coast were no longer at risk of cancellations and were going ahead as scheduled, while service to the Gulf Islands had resumed but was delayed.


Warnings issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada said the windstorm was expected to hit certain areas of Metro Vancouver and the South Coast Friday evening. Those same winds are forecast to batter areas in the Strait of Georgia, including East Vancouver Island, the southern Gulf Islands, and the Sunshine Coast.

The weather and climate agency also warned high winds could damage buildings, roof shingles and windows, as well as topple trees which could result in power outages across the region.

Motorists are asked to monitor the agency's alerts and forecasts before travelling on highways in the affected areas.