Thousands without power as storm hits southern BC

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Storm triggers tornado warning for Washington state coast also

Vancouver:  A fierce windstorm knocked out power for thousands of residents on Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and the southern Interior of BC early Friday morning.  Some of the worst damage was on Vancouver Island, where around 13,000 customers were without power by 2:30 a.m.  The storm returned around 6 a.m. when thunder and lightning woke many residents on the south end of the island.  Highway 4 was also closed between Tofino and Ucluelet, and pooling water was reported on Highway 17 in Saanich.

Metro Vancouver gets hit

Later in the morning the storm appeared to be hitting Metro Vancouver where over 4,700 customers were without power by 9 a.m.  At least one school on the North Shore, Sherwood Park Elementary, was reporting a delayed opening because of a power outage.  Traffic was also jammed on Highway 1 in Metro Vancouver after a fatal crashed closed the Barnett Highway 7A for much of the morning commute.  And in the southern interior about 3,700 customers were without power at 6 a.m., according to BC Hydro.  As of 9 a.m., there were no BC Ferries cancellations.

More powerful storm coming

The third and largest storm is expected to arrive on Saturday, when the remnant of Super Typhoon Songda arrives, setting the stage for potentially damaging winds over the weekend.  Officials are warning residents that if the storm materializes as expected, they should be prepared for power outages, flooding, downed trees and possibly even landslides.  Environment Canada says total rainfall accumulations from these storms could exceed 200 mm for west and inland areas of Vancouver Island. Inner coastal regions could get more than 100 mm with even higher amounts near the mountains.

Wind warnings still in effect

Wind warnings issued by Environment Canada remain in effect as the storm continues to pass over the region.  “As the low approaches, the wind will increase from the southeast along the west coast of Vancouver Island peaking at 100 km/h early this morning,” said the warning.  “East Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, Howe Sound near Bowen Island, Southern Gulf Islands and Metro Vancouver regions will see their winds from the southeast increase up to 80 km/h this morning.  “As the low moves across the South Coast, the winds will veer to southwest 40 gusting to 80 km/h beginning Friday morning over West Vancouver Island region, midday through Inland Vancouver Island region and progressing eastward reaching Metro Vancouver by Friday afternoon.  “Port Alberni will see their strongest winds from the southwest gusting to 90 km/h with the passage of the low.”  The strong winds will ease this afternoon before the next powerful storm arrives late Saturday.

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