The latest winter storm hammered B.C.'s South Coast Wednesday, with extensive ferry cancellations, road closures and massive power outages.

About 210,000 B.C. Hydro customers are without lights as strong winds blew trees onto power lines, downing them completely in some cases.

Hydro spokeswoman Elisha Moreno said the hardest-hit areas are Vancouver, Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford and Mission.

There are also widespread outages on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast.

Moreno said all available crews are out trying to make repairs and restore power. But she said they will stop for the night at 10 p.m. PT due to safety reasons, and start work again at first light on Thursday.

Moreno says there could be outages in the B.C. Interior as the storm makes its way eastward across the province.

Trees hitting homes

The high winds, which gusted up to 100 km/h, also blew trees onto people's homes on the Lower Mainland on Wednesday.

In East Vancouver, a large elm tree blew down on 12th Avenue near Kingsway, with its top branches ending up in the attic of a heritage home. No one was hurt.

In the Seascape development north of Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver police went door-to-door ordering 40 people out because of the danger of trees falling on their homes.

"There are quite a number of trees that have come down in this area due to the high winds, and several have actually landed on houses," said spokesman Sgt. Paul Skelton.

Police also closed Highway 99 to Whistler for several hours because of the danger.

Peter Gordon told CBC News he was waiting in traffic on the highway when falling trees almost hit two cars in the lineup.

"Just slightly north of Lions Bay, and while we were stuck in traffic, two more trees came down. And one big fir landed just dead-on between two cars. We thought someone was going to get killed for sure."

But they didn't, and Gordon said everyone got out without any injuries.

The danger of falling trees prompted emergency officials to ask motorists to stay off Highway 1 between Capilano Road in North Vancouver and 264th Street in the Fraser Valley - B.C.'s busiest stretch of highway.

Meanwhile, Highway 101 north of the ferry terminal on the Sunshine Coast was also closed by the high winds.

Ferries stay docked

The rough weather conditions forced BC Ferries to cancel numerous sailings between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island on Wednesday.

Spokesman Mark Stephanson said the entire system was shut down for a time, except for the Horseshoe Bay-to-Langdale run, because of the "extreme" conditions.

Ferry service has since resumed, but most ferries were running behind schedule.

Harbour Air cancelled its commuter flights from Vancouver to Victoria and Nanaimo on Wednesday morning, although West Coast Air maintained its service between Vancouver and Victoria.

Helijet service across Georgia Strait to Vancouver Island was not disrupted.

Slow going on Island highways

Highways on the Island are taking a pounding. Highway 14, west of Victoria, is closed 20 kilometres west of Sooke at Point No Point by downed hydro wires.

Farther up the Island, Highway 18 is closed halfway between Duncan and Lake Cowichan.

Highway 4 to the west coast of the Island has been closed between the Tofino-Ucluelet junction to the Sutton Pass summit and on the other side of the summit near Port Alberni.

About 4,500 students in Port Alberni were sent home because the schools have no electricity.

On northern Vancouver Island, two mudslides have closed a large section of Highway 19 from the Sayward Road Junction to just south of Woss. Another mudslide near Gold River has closed Highway 28 in both directions at Muchalaat Drive.

Flood warnings have been issued for five rivers on the Island: the Cowichan, Chemainus, Englishman and Tsolum Rivers on the east side of the island, and the Gold River on the west side.

In northern B.C., there is a heavy snow warning along Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert.

North Shore on alert

The high winds and heavy rain are of particular concern in North Vancouver, where mountain streams and creeks are already surging.

District of North Vancouver Mayor Richard Walton said some residents of the Indian Arm area have no water because their intake pipes have been broken off by the raging creek waters.

Officials are also keeping a close watch on the escarpment in North Vancouver, where a mudslide claimed a life nearly two years ago.

Crews and homeowners are also on the alert in the Boundary Bay area of Delta where there was extensive flooding damage in a major storm back in February.

Just last week, the first big storm of the season caused major problems, including the evacuation of about 200 homes in the Fraser Valley.