VANCOUVER -- Extreme winds  led to thousands of power outages across B.C., hitting the Lower Mainland's North Shore particularly hard.

According to BC Hydro, most of the outages were caused by either wires being down or trees being down across wires.

"Early this morning we did see some outages pop up as a result of gusts of wind, damaging our equipment. We saw trees and branches fall onto our power lines and knock down power poles, resulting in outages for our customers," Tanya Fish, spokesperson for BC Hydro told CTV News Vancouver.

"We're seeing a number of downed lines as a result of the high winds and trees and branches coming into contact with our equipment."

Several schools in North Vancouver had to delay their opening times Wednesday morning because of the outages. Seven schools with delayed starts opened by 11 a.m., while three others couldn't open until 12:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, Braemar and Dorothy Lynas elementary schools had to stay closed for the entire day. 

"One school remains open without power and another school's fire alarm has not been restored," the school district said on its website. "Power is expected to be restored later today with these two schools re-opening tomorrow." 

The outages also led to problems for drivers, as West Vancouver police warned that lights out at Taylor Way and Marine Drive were causing "extreme traffic delays." Shortly before 8:30 a.m., the lights at that intersection were back on but police said to still expect traffic. 

BC Hydro is also keeping an eye on wind in the Fraser Valley and Environment Canada has issued a wind warning for Metro Vancouver. Gusts of up to 90 km/h can be expected, the warning says. 

"Strong winds that may cause damage are expected or occurring. An arctic ridge of high pressure over the BC interior will intensify this morning," Environment Canada says. 

"Damage to buildings, such as to roof shingles and windows, may occur. Loose objects may be tossed by the wind and cause injury or damage."

BC Hydro is reminding customers to keep their distance from downed power lines – at least 10 metres – and to report them to 911.