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Region battens down for windy blast, power outages
Southwestern B.C. is bracing for what forecasters warn will be an extraordinary windstorm this morning that could bring significant power outages and downed trees.
Metro Vancouver and other parts of the inner south coast will be buffeted by sustained winds of 70 to 80 km/h with peak gusts from 90 to 100 km/h, according to a wind warning issued by Environment Canada.
Winds are not expected to peak until almost noon and will diminish late in the afternoon.
As of 10 a.m., B.C. Hydro was already reporting more than 50 power outages across southwest B.C. affecting more than 30,000 customers, including parts of Langley and Vancouver. See B.C. Hydro's real-time list and map of current outages and on mobile devices go to m.bchydro.com and select outages.
The storm will be more powerful in more exposed parts of the coast, with sustained winds of up to 100 km/h and gusts to 140 km/h expected on western and northern Vancouver Island and the central coast.
Ferry sailings are being cancelled on several routes – see www.bcferries.com for updates.
TransLink spokesman Drew Snider warned the storm may trigger unexpected transit service disruptions in Metro Vancouver, particularly SkyTrain service on the Expo Line in and out of Surrey.
"At certain sustained wind strengths, SkyTrain will reduce speed over SkyBridge and at a certain point the bridge may be closed altogether," he said.
SeaBus service has never been halted due to weather but Snider said that remains a possibility.
"Blowing debris can also cause service disruptions on SkyTrain and buses and roads like the Stanley Park causeway may be closed," he said.
"If the storm hits just before noon as predicted, there may be an impact on service in the afternoon rush hour that did not exist in the morning."