Thousands without power in B.C. as wind, snow blow across province

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In Langley, a tree fell fell during the windstorm and took down wires and poles on the Langley Lane Greenway. Thousands of people across the Lower Mainland were without power on Sunday. (Shane MacKichan - image credit)
In Langley, a tree fell fell during the windstorm and took down wires and poles on the Langley Lane Greenway. Thousands of people across the Lower Mainland were without power on Sunday. (Shane MacKichan - image credit)

Strong winds and heavy snow are battering British Columbia from Vancouver Island to the Okanagan Valley and beyond, causing ferry cancellations, power outages in some areas and slippery highway conditions in others.

Environment Canada has issued wind warnings for the Greater Victoria area and Metro Vancouver.

Other parts of Vancouver Island, Howe Sound and the Sunshine Coast are also expected to experience strong winds as an intense cold front moves across the South Coast. High winds are also forecast for the Okanagan Valley, Shuswap and West Kootenays.

Farther east, beginning in the Fraser Valley, snowfall warnings are in effect for the Fraser Canyon, Nicola and Similkameen regions. Environment Canada says it expects up to 25 millimetres of snow in the Fraser Valley, along with gusty winds.

The windy weather appears to have caused power outages throughout the South Coast.

According to BC Hydro, as of Sunday evening there were 146 power outages across the Lower Mainland and the Sunshine Coast, affecting 78,440 customers. On South Vancouver Island, 46 outages affected 9,414 households and on North Vancouver Island 40 outages had affected 5,411 households.

BC Hydro also says several thousand customers are without power in West Vancouver and North Vancouver because of an issue at one of its substations.

Most of those affected had their power restored as of Monday morning.

In other parts of the province, the snow has created treacherous conditions along highways. DriveBC has issued a travel warning for the Merritt to Hope section of the Coquihalla Highway because of heavy blowing snow with limited visibility.

BC Ferries cancelled several sailings on Sunday because of "adverse weather conditions," including sailings out of Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay.