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Island's first fall windstorm knocks out power, cancels ferries

A so-called “bomb cyclone” — a low-pressure area with very strong winds accompanied by heavy rain — made its way north and skirted the B.C. coast

A tugboat had to be brought in to help a cruise ship trying to dock at Ogden Point during high winds Monday morning.

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority said windy conditions made it challenging for the ship to manoeuvre.

The first windstorm of the season left about 5,800 B.C. Hydro customers on Vancouver Island without power by early Monday afternoon.

The largest outage was in the Campbell River/Courtenay area, where almost 2,000 customers were affected Monday morning.

Two round-trip sailings of the Queen of New Westminster between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen were cancelled due to strong winds, according to B.C. Ferries. The 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. sailings from Swartz Bay, and the 8 a.m. and noon sailings from Tsawwassen were affected.

Larger B.C. Ferries vessels between Victoria and the Lower Mainland continued to sail.

Hullo passenger ferry between Nanaimo and Vancouver harbour cancelled its 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. sailings because of the high winds. Hullo asked passengers to stand by for updates on scheduled sailings for the rest of the day.

Some Harbour Air flights between Victoria and Vancouver harbours were also delayed due to strong winds. Up-to-the minute flight status information can be found on its real time flight status page.

Wind warnings remained in effect for much of the Island Monday morning, but had been lifted for the west coast.

In Greater Victoria, the Southern Gulf Islands and East Vancouver Island, winds of up to 70 km an hour hour with gusts up to 90 km/h were expected to decrease somewhat but remain “quite strong” through Tuesday.

On Northern Vancouver Island, Environment Canada warned another frontal system would arrive Monday evening with rain and wind speeds approaching 90 km/h for exposed coastal sections.

Yimei Li, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said tree branches that are heavy with wet foliage are more likely to break in high winds, increasing the risk of damage and power outages.

“The main threat from this system will be strong winds,” Li said. “We’re not anticipating a huge amount of rain.”

She said 10 to 20 mm of rain was expected in the western part of Metro Vancouver, including Richmond or Delta, while municipalities closer to the mountains could see twice that.

A so-called “bomb cyclone” — a low-pressure area with very strong winds accompanied by heavy rain — made its way north and skirted the B.C. coast, Li said.

On Tuesday, Li said, Greater Victoria, the southern Gulf Islands and parts of the north Island could see winds of 30 km/h gusting to 50 km/h — not enough for a wind warning, although wind speeds could be higher in coastal areas.

— With a file from Nathan Griffiths, Vancouver Sun

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