While the worst of the blast may be over, we’re not done with the storm yet.
That from Global Meteorologist Kate Gajdosik.
“It’s coming in waves. It’s a very interesting system. So I am looking at some of the data right now and the models are predicting that these gusts will continue to be very strong, very active right through five o’ clock tonight into six o clock tonight. Even by eight o’ clock we’re still going to seeing wind that is quite strong and variable but the gusts will have diminished.”
It’s been a chaotic scene in many areas of Metro Vancouver since the windstorm hit the region earlier today.
PNE back on again
Is it open or is it closed? After a confusing couple of hours, officials at the PNE say the park will stay open for the rest of the day.
In a bid to draw crowds despite the storm, the PNE offered free admission this morning.
But by early afternoon, dangerously high winds forced them to shut down rides and then close the park.
Just an hour later after an update from Environment Canada the gates re-opened, with admission now free all day.
Spokesperson Laura Ballance:
“Obviously we’ve got a fairgrounds full of people that are enjoying their day. And we’re thrilled with the update.”
But one guest who’d already made it halfway home says that’s not good enough.
“Maybe open on Monday instead of being closed, and make it a free day.”
Admission will be free again tomorrow from 11am to 1pm.
400,000 BC Hydro customers in the dark
Strong winds have led to power outages and fallen trees across parts of Metro Vancouver.
Over 400,000 customers in the Lower Mainland are affected by the wind storm raging throughout the area.
“Wind storms are very challenging. We often see power go off in one area as crews repair it in another. So it will be a long process but our customers should know our crews are out there working as quickly and efficiently as they can.”
Skytrain shutdowns and long delays
SkyTrain is not running between Royal Oak and Edmonds, thanks to a downed tree, one of thousands across the region.
The wind gusts which have fallen trees onto streets have also created big headaches for Skytrain users todays.
Transit Police spokesperson Anne Drennan says a number of Skytrains, as well as traffic has been affected.
“The Expo Line is down between Metrotown and New West and we have a bus bridge in place to move passengers from Metrotown to New west. The Canada Line remains unaffected. Portions of the Millennium Line is running, however the power is down on the system temporarily while some branches which flew onto the guideway are being removed.”
A Skytrain took heavy damage from a falling tree at Braid Station in New West.
Transit Police spokesperson Anne Drennan on the extent of the damage.
“There was a train hit by a tree at Braid Station. Nobody was injured and the tree hit the tree and broke a window. Fortunately the train was at Braid Station and not out on the track itself so there was no evacuation needed on the on the guideway.”
A photo of the heavily damaged Skytrain is making its rounds on Twitter, showing the smashed window and cracks on the front panel.
CKNW reporter Shelby Thom on scene at Skytrain
“Service was suspended at Royal Oak, Edmonds, and 22nd Street. Trains are turning around to avoid the area and TransLink has brought in a bus bridge. Many people are jumping onto the Millennium Line which is also plagued with delays. It’s taken one hour to get from Granville Station to Renfrew, including a transfer at Commercial-Broadway. Commuters are getting noticeably agitated, crammed into trains like sardines. On top of all this, TransLink is doing track maintenance adding to the commuting headache.
Stanley Park partially re-opened
Park Board Commissioner Sarah Kirby Young says the Vancouver Police has deemed the east side of the park is safe and has re-opened.
“The west side of Stanley Park from the north end of Pipeline over to Second Beach remains closed while our forestry crews clear any debris and downed trees.”
Lynda Steele from Downtown
“It’s just been crazy. It’s been so windy out that I’m looking down on the condos and I’m seeing patio furniture absolutely twisted up and crumpled like those big patio umbrellas and things that cover up tables; they’re just squished. I’ve been here for about four and a half years and I’ve never experienced this kind of wind; the trees and branches are down.”
Gord Macdonald from Sea to Sky
“It’s very wet and it’s very windy on the drive from the North Shore to Squamish. The Sea to Sky highway seeing lots of rain all the way up. It’s very hard in some spots, others not as hard. There are tree branches, some small, littered on the road, but nothing that causes any problem for travel. However, the water in Howe Sound is very choppy. It would be very hard to be on the water today.”
BC Hydro crews have been working to restore power in affected areas, however problematic winds have caused newer problems elsewhere, making it a troublesome issue.
A rain and wind warning remains in effect for Metro Vancouver; anticipate total rainfall amounts of 40 to 80 mm for Howe Sound, the North Shore, and parts of the Fraser Valley.