Thousands without power, BC Ferries sailings cancelled as destructive windstorm slams South Coast

Vancouver Courier


Damage from the windstorm at Horseshoe Bay.
Chris Golden / @lyteforce /Twitter

A severe windstorm lashed the South Coast overnight, knocking out power to up to 70,000 homes at its peak, downing trees and forcing BC Ferries to cancel all sailings to and from Horseshoe Bay for part of the day.

BC Ferries issued a travel advisory on Saturday morning due to strong arctic outflow winds gusting to 90 km/h. The strong winds are expected to continue through the day over the Fraser Valley, southeastern Metro Vancouver, Greater Victoria and the Southern Gulf Islands.

BC Ferries says Sewell’s Marina took a significant amount of damage in the storm and high seas caused the breakwater barge to sink.

It says the high amount of debris in the water made it unsafe to bring ferries in and out of the Horseshoe Bay terminal. The storm also caused boats, which were dry docked on the barge to come loose and wash up on the rocks on the shore.

Meanwhile, BC Hydro is out in full force working to restore power to thousands of homes. Some of the hardest hit areas for power outages and strong winds right now include Victoria International Airport, Colwood, Langford, Gulf Islands, Maple Ridge, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Surrey and Langley.

The destructive high winds have taken the roof of a home in Abbotsford and downed trees and power lines in Chilliwack, Maple Ridge and Coquitlam.

BC Hydro says crews are continuing to receive new trouble calls and outages in these areas and others, which is adding to restoration efforts.

“Crews have been working through the night and this morning to restore power from the ongoing windstorm,” BC Hydro wrote on Twitter.

“We continue to see strong winds and new outages in many areas this morning and right now just over 70,000 customers are without power.”

Environment Canada issued severe weather warnings on Saturday morning which resulted in the BC Ferries sailing cancellations. Go to Current Conditions for up to date information on all routes.

Customers with reservations
All customers with reservations on cancelled sailings will be advised by automated call and email that their booking is cancelled and will be fully refunded.
Once sailings resume, standard practice is to first load customers with a reservation on their scheduled sailings, as they were not cancelled. All other customers will be loaded in the order they check in at the terminal.

Customers with a cancelled reservation
Once sailings resume, customers with cancelled reservations will be loaded in the order they arrived at the terminal, after customers with reservations for the scheduled sailing.

Customers arriving at the terminal without reservations
Once sailings resume, customers will be loaded on a standby basis in the order of arrival at the terminal, after customers with reservations for the scheduled sailing.