High winds wreak havoc
Long B.C. Ferries waits after sailings cancelled; power outages reported
Get ready for more gusty weather. Winds are expected to pick up again today as a new weather system moves into the capital region from offshore.
Environment Canada issued a wind warning on Monday as rough waters saw B.C. Ferries hold vessels in dock until mid-afternoon. Travellers faced three-sailing waits at Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen once service resumed.
Winds also toppled trees onto power lines, resulting in outages on southern Vancouver Island and in the Gulf Islands.
Heavy winds between 40 and 70 km/h from the southeast were expected to ease off overnight Monday into today, said Alyssa Charbonneau, Environment Canada meteorologist.
“Then, the next system starts to move in and we start to see the winds come up again. So before [this] morning, they will probably be up to 30 km/h.”
Winds could pick up to 40 to 60 km/h, with a potential they could be stronger, particularly in the late afternoon and early evening, Charbonneau said.
Two separate low-pressure centres are responsible for the winds. The first had been off Vancouver Island’s west coast and is moving across the Island and weakening as it does so.
As that system moves inland, there is another weather system that is spinning above the water. That is the one that is expected to deliver winds again today, especially near the water in the afternoon, she said.
Although the winds are expected to diminish by Wednesday, the weather system will continue to send rain over the region through the week, with a possible break by Thursday night into Friday, she said. “We might have a bit of a drying out.”
Monday’s strong winds forced B.C. Ferries to cancel late morning and early afternoon sailings. As conditions improved, ferries went back into service starting at 3 p.m.
But travellers faced a backlog, as ferries resumed their regular schedule. Unhappy and confused passengers were stuck for many hours at packed terminals and in long lineups.
The section of B.C. Ferries’ website detailing current conditions could not be accessed for part of Monday, leaving riders wondering what was going on. Ferries posted updates on Twitter. The Departure Bay-Horseshoe Bay run was fully booked for Monday, with only the possibility of room for foot passengers, one Tweet stated.
Those who had booked reservations on cancelled sailings were incorporated into the regular lineups of vehicles at Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay. Their reservation fees will be automatically refunded, said Deborah Marshall, spokeswoman for B.C. Ferries.
As well, the Queen of Coquitlam ran into mechanical problems after leaving Duke Point in Nanaimo earlier Monday. It had to be towed back to port. The ferry was repaired to return to service later in the day.
Smaller communities were cut off as well. B.C. Ferries posted updates on Twitter as service resumed. These included Campbell River, Quadra Island, Texada Island and Denman and Hornby islands.
Ferries announced via Twitter that parking tickets will not be issued in the Swartz Bay or Tsawwassen short-term and long-term parking lots because of the weather issues.
A man holds his umbrella to fend off the wind and rain near the Inner Harbour on Monday. More gusty weather is forecast for today.