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B.C. Ferries cancels some sailings as high winds hit Vancouver Island

A frontal system is headed toward B.C.’s south coast, bringing with it wind, rain and snow.
Katie and Kelly Sayers walk along Johnson Street with their son Owen, 2, on a rainy day in Victoria on Saturday Dec. 9, 2023. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

High winds prompted B.C. Ferries to cancel several ferry sailings between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland on Saturday.

Four sailings servicing Victoria and Vancouver, including the 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. sailings out of Swartz Bay and the 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. out of Tsawwassen had been cancelled as of 11 a.m.

In Nanaimo, four sailings had been cancelled, including the 10:15 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. sailings out of Duke Point and the 10:15 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. sailings out of Tsawwassen bound for Nanaimo.

A number of sailings on routes servicing the Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast were also cancelled or delayed due to adverse weather.

The ferry company said in a notice that it was reaching out to passengers with bookings on cancelled sailings to let them know whether they are able to fit them on another sailing later in the day or if their bookings have to be cancelled. Fares and booking fees of affected passengers will be refunded, it said.

A frontal system is headed toward B.C.’s south coast, bringing with it wind, rain and snow.

Environment Canada issued a wind warning for the capital region and the Southern Gulf Islands on Saturday morning, warning of southeasterly gusts of 70 kilometres an hour peaking to 90 km/h near noon.

A similar wind warning was issued for the North Island, as well.

The weather agency warned of potential injury or damaged caused by loose objects tossed by the wind, as well as power outages and falling tree branches.

About 800 B.C. Hydro customers in Oak Bay were without power as of 10 a.m. due to downed wires.

One person became trapped in an elevator due to the outage, though Oak Bay assistant fire chief Jason Joyson told CHEK News that the person was uninjured and in good spirits. Joyson said that a maintenance crew has been called.

Another 300 on Pender Island were were without power, though the cause of that outage was under investigation.

On the north Island, more than 7,500 customers lost power. Some outages were due to trees or wires down, though most were attributed to a transmission circuit failure.

Snow is expected on the east coast of the Island from Nanoose Bay to Fanny Bay and from Courtenay and Campbell River, and inland Vancouver Island. Port Alberni is expected to receive the most snow, with up to 10 centimetres in the forecast at higher inland elevations.

The Malahat is expected to receive two to four centimetres of snow on Saturday afternoon.

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