Several ferry sailings cancelled as windstorm hits South Coast
Published Friday, December 14, 2018 9:39AM PST
Last Updated Friday, December 14, 2018 7:14PM PST
A windstorm that triggered weather warnings across B.C.'s South Coast Friday forced several ferry cancellations, cut power to thousands of homes and closed down Grouse Mountain.
BC Ferries cancelled more than half a dozen sailings from Tsawwassen, Swartz Bay, Duke Point, Little River, Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay by the early afternoon, leaving passengers like Mike McAuley temporarily stranded while they waited for updates.
"We are heading to Tofino," McAuley said from the Horseshoe Bay terminal. "Today is my birthday and unfortunately we're stuck here until we can make our way over there."
Environment Canada forecast the worst of the storm wouldn’t hit until the early evening, when gusting winds were expected to reach up to 90 km/h in parts of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.
At those speeds, the weather agency said property damage is possible.
"When you reach the 80 km threshold, that's when you start to see tree limbs breaking and the potential for power outages increasing," meteorologist Matt McDonald told CTV News.
About one year ago, a windstorm with 90 km/h winds sent an elm tree crashing through the roof of a townhouse complex in Surrey.
Environment Canada said the wind could also toss loose objects around, potentially causing damage or injuries.
BC Hydro reported there were more than 15,000 outages across the South Coast by early Friday afternoon, most on the north end of Vancouver Island, and crews were bracing for a potentially challenging evening.
Further east on the Coquihalla Highway, Environment Canada said a "very intense Pacific cold front" could deliver up to 15 cm of snow Friday night between Hope and Merritt.
"Prepare for quickly changing and deteriorating travel conditions," the weather agency warned. "Visibility will be suddenly reduced to near zero at times in heavy snow and blowing snow. Poor weather conditions may contribute to transportation delays."
Friday's windy conditions also thwarted plans for skiers who were headed to Grouse Mountain, which closed the Skyride gondola and put all mountaintop activities "on standby" for the day.
Check the BC Ferries, BC Hydro and Grouse Mountain websites for latest updates on cancellations, outages and ski conditions.
Due to the forecast, a holiday-themed event was closed Friday evening as a precaution. The Vancouver Park Board said Bright Nights in Stanley Park would close as of 4 p.m.
Those with tickets were invited to instead attend the opening of Holiday Heights at the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park.
The park board said tickets to the Stanley Park event would be accepted as admission, or ticketholders could bring them to Stanley Park another day and exchange them for the next available train. Refunds are also available.
To receive Environment Canada weather warnings and alerts straight to your phone, download CTV Vancouver's free Weather Watch app. Click here for more information, including how to download.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Sheila Scott
Lots of people in limbo at @BCFerries terminal in Horseshoe Bay as sailings have been cancelled due to weather. Also affecting Tsawwassen/ Swartz Bay sailings. Next sailings listed as weather dependent. I’m live with details on @CTVVancouver at noon. pic.twitter.com/ZMWV0MDoT4— Sheila Scott (@Sheila_Scott) December 14, 2018