BC windstorm
© Véro Hamel/Facebook
A tree fell along the Sea-to-Sky Highway near Horseshoe Bay in the early afternoon on Thursday. A windstorm has knocked out power to more than 100,000 people and led to widespread ferry cancellations between the mainland and Vancouver Island.
More than 335,000 BC Hydro customers have lost power as another "significant" windstorm batters B.C.'s South Coast, also leading to widespread ferry closures and shutting down access to parts of Vancouver's Stanley Park for the sake of public safety.

The entire southwest corner of the province has been under a wind warning since Thursday morning, with Environment Canada forecasting winds up to 100 km/h in the afternoon - especially in exposed coastal areas.

Winds that strong can toss loose objects around and rip shingles from roofs.

"This is a significant windstorm and could cause widespread damage," the agency's warning said.

More than half of the power outages, according to BC Hydro, are across the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast. The rest are across Vancouver Island and mostly caused by falling trees downing power lines.

Utility spokesperson Tanya Fish said anyone who sees a power line on the ground needs to stay back and phone 911. The Vancouver Park Board said access to Stanley Park was closed due to the risk of falling branches.

The B.C. Coroners Service said a person died from a falling tree accident in Duncan.

A spokesperson was unable to provide further details about the situation and it is unclear if the death was connected to the storm.


BC Ferries has cancelled sailings linking the mainland to Vancouver Island throughout the day as winds were clocked at 75 km/h at several terminals.

Spokesperson Deborah Marshall said more sailings will be cancelled if the weather doesn't improve out of concern for public safety.

In all, the following routes are seeing cancellations as of 12:30 p.m. PT:
  • Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay
  • Tsawwassen-Duke Point
  • Tsawwassen-Southern Gulf Islands
  • Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay
  • Comox-Powell River
  • Cortes Island-Quadra Island
  • Texada Island-Powell River
  • Hornby Island-Denman Island East
  • Brentwood-Mill Bay
Just before 2 p.m., staff at Vancouver International Airport tweeted that "some airport operations" were affected by the wind and advised passengers to check travel information with their airline before leaving for the terminal.

The wind is also leading to westbound and eastbound delays across the Expo SkyTrain line.


Travelling doesn't look any better for those heading to and from the Interior on Thursday. Weather warnings for the region include heavy rain, wind and snow throughout the day.

Environment Canada said snow will begin over the Coquihalla Highway on Thursday morning and intensify by evening, with another 30 centimetres of fresh snow by Friday.

Highway 3 and Highway 1 between Eagle Pass and Rogers Pass are also in for another round of torrential rain and gusting wind through the evening.

As much as 15 centimetres of snow is forecast for the Peace River and surrounding areas of northeastern B.C., while special weather statements for the Cariboo, 100 Mile, Thompson and Okanagan regions warn those areas should see potentially damaging winds later in the day.

Story originally published on CBC.ca, with files from With files from Gian-Paolo Mendoza, Joel Ballard, Liam Britten and the Canadian Press.