B.C. storm downs trees, knocks out power to thousands on Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island
A powerful windstorm hit areas of the Lower Mainland on Friday, bringing down several trees and leaving thousands without power for hours.
According to Environment Canada, winds were gusting up to 90 km/h late Friday.
"We do have some big trees in this part of the world, and after these couple of summers of prolonged heat and drought, some of them are quite weakened," said storm chaser Ryan Voutilainen.
BC Hydro reported power outages across the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, affecting thousands of residents and businesses, including a restaurant in West Vancouver that lost power for about three hours.
"It's heartbreaking," said Ramboc Rezaie, the chief operating officer and general manager of JJ's Kitchen West Vancouver.
"We have the servers here now and ready, the kitchen is fully staffed for a very busy Friday night and, unfortunately, the majority of the business that we anticipated was gone tonight and it's very upsetting," he said.
The owner of the restaurant, Julia Karimi, said power outages happen frequently and it's affecting her business.
While they have an emergency power generator, she said it isn't enough to operate her restaurant.
"We've been here for about a year and two months, and we've had at least three or four outages," she said.
Several ferries were also cancelled Friday, but service was restored for most evening sailings.
Voutilainen said Friday's storm was normal for winter and it's nothing to be concerned about.
"A lot of this has to do with topography. So, depending on where you were in the Lower Mainland, you may have only seen some blustery conditions and thought, 'Well this isn't really that exciting or that eventful,'" he said.
"But as you got towards the water and towards the southeast sections in Metro Vancouver, we did see some substantial wind gusts up to the 80 km/h range. And over the water, some of them were gusting up to 95 km/h," he added.
Voutilainen said people should expect more wind as the season continues, and in the meantime, he urges everyone to be prepared and have an emergency kit ready in case of power outages.
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