Metro Vancouver and south Vancouver Island residents were startled awake by some wicked wind sweeping through the city late Tuesday and early Wednesday morning, which knocked out power to thousands of BC Hydro customers.
Social media was abuzz following the storm with residents reporting the sound of multiple trees and branches snapping, the flash amid darkness of transformers blowing out across the region, and the freight train roar of the wind as it rattled homes and the nerves of startled residents.
An atmospheric river with moisture origins from as far away as the Philippines is responsible for the high winds lashing southern British Columbia, with widespread weather warnings in place.
A low pressure centre crossing southern Vancouver Island late Tuesday evening is now moving into the B.C. Interior overnight, with winds over the Southern Gulf Islands rising to southwest 70 km/h after midnight. Those winds are projected to ease into Wednesday morning.
Ahead of the low, winds up to southerly 50 to 70 km/h built up over southwestern sections of Metro Vancouver Tuesday night, before shifting to westerly 50 to 70 km/h as the low tracks to the east of the city.
The strongest winds had been forecast to be southerly 70 km/h in the Boundary Bay area Tuesday evening, before switching to westerly 70 km/h over Metro Vancouver along the Strait of Georgia. Those winds are also forecast to ease by early Wednesday morning.
Behind the low, strong winds developing through Juan de Fuca Strait gave westerly winds of 70 km/h over areas of Greater Victoria near the strait, that will persist into early Wednesday afternoon.
A rainfall warning ended for Metro Vancouver shortly after midnight.
Wind warnings as of 1:20 a.m. Wednesday remain in effect for Victoria, the Southern Gulf Islands and the North Shore, as well as central and southwest Metro Vancouver.
BC Hydro as of 1:46 a.m. Wednesday is reporting 119 power outages in the Lower mainland/Sunshine Coast region, affecting 67,508 customers. Southern Vancouver Island is also getting hammered by strong gusty winds, with 100 outages reported affecting just over 30,000 customers.
Check BC Hydro’s site online for the latest outages here: https://www.bchydro.com/power-outages/app/outage-list.html
Gusts up to 70 km/h had been forecast for Tuesday evening and overnight, with winds out of the south initially, then switching to westerly overnight and easing Wednesday morning.
Two ferry sailings have already been cancelled, and there is a chance some may be at least delayed Wednesday morning.
Travellers are advised to check the BC Ferries website before heading to the terminal.
Meanwhile, heavy snow will fall on the mountain highways east of Hope tonight through part of today, with the Coquihalla expecting up to 25 cm.
Gusty winds are also expected, meaning whiteout conditions are possible.
Most lower-elevation regions will see just rain, except for regions north of Kamloops where 5-15 cm is possible.
Most of the Interior experienced strong gusty southwest winds Tuesday night of up 70 km/h. Strong gusty winds are expected to continue into Wednesday afternoon.
B.C. evening weather forecast: Jan. 12
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