Second major windstorm of season cuts power to 2,500 Coasters

Southeast winds of 60 to 80 km/h developed overnight Monday as a strong Pacific low swept through the south coast Nov. 17, cutting power to homes on the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast.

More than 2,500 Sunshine Coast residents lost power on Tuesday – including in Egmont, Pender Harbour and Sechelt – caused by trees falling across wires. Power had been restored to most locations by evening.

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Environment Canada put the Sunshine Coast under a wind warning Monday, saying the winds could be strong enough to “toss loose objects or cause tree branches to break” and Capilano Highways warned people to drive to the conditions and watch for debris on the roads.

Gusts of 50 km/h were recorded in Sechelt Tuesday morning and at the weather station at Pam Rocks in Howe Sound there were sustained winds of around 60 km/h with gusts at times hitting 100 km/h.

BC Ferries cancelled sailings to and from Vancouver Island out of the Horseshoe Bay, Powell River and Tsawwassen terminals, but service between Langdale and Horseshoe Bay was not impacted.

By Nov. 18 the agency lifted the warning as the low moved inland and weakened.

About 93 per cent of the 130,000 customers impacted by the Tuesday windstorm had their power restored by Wednesday, according to BC Hydro. Customers in Port Hardy, Port McNeill and Campbell River remained without power because of a transmission outage.

This the second major storm to significantly damage BC Hydro’s south coast and Vancouver Island systems this fall. A report released by the utility last week found the “severity and frequency of storms causing damage to BC Hydro’s electric system” has increased by 117 per cent since 2014.

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