High winds wreak havoc

Long B.C. Fer­ries waits af­ter sail­ings can­celled; power out­ages re­ported

Times Colonist - - Front Page - CARLA WIL­SON To fol­low B.C. Fer­ries’ up­dates on Twit­ter: https://twit­ter.com/BCFer­ries

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.

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