Intense winds are expected to reach highs of 80 kilometres an hour across the South Coast Friday night, and powerful gusts have already began to slam Metro Vancouver in the late afternoon.
Global News Meteorologist Kristi Gordon says the strongest winds so far are in Tsawwassen at 89 kilometres an hour, in Vancouver at the airport at 70, and in Abbotsford, with 69.
“The wind should ease off through the early evening hours but it will be a gradual trend towards lighter, lighter winds late this evening and through the overnight period.”
Gordon says when the wind gusts begin to calm down, there will still be a brief burst of southerly winds across Abbotsford.
Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for the region. South Surrey, White Rock, and the westernmost areas of the Fraser Valley were forecast to be in for the worst of it.
The weather statement was rescinded shortly after 10:30 p.m.
At its peak, BC Hydro reported there were more than 20,000 power outages across the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast.
Winds have already topped out at over 100 km/h around the Southern Gulf Islands, and on the mainland they have knocked one tree onto a car, sending a child to hospital.
Nearly all BC Ferries sailings across the Georgia Strait were cancelled, though a 9 p.m. sailing from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay was reinstated in the early evening.
Hydro gears up
BC Hydro says it’s prepared, with all hands on deck.
Spokesperson Mora Scott says their team of meteorologists has been tracking the weather system, and crews are on the ground.
“Our crews are ready for this, they are responding, we’re seeing a lot of trees coming down and branches onto our lines.”
Scott says she also wants to remind everyone that if they come across a downed power line, to stay at least 10 meters back, and to call 9-1-1 immediately.
She says the hardest hit areas have been Vancouver, Surrey and Burnaby.
She adds storms like this are good reminder to ensure homes are prepared with an emergency kit.
“So we always encourage our customers to be prepared… we encourage them to have an emergency kit with things like flashlight, batteries, food, water, first aid kit and fully charged cell phone.”
No sign of storm surge
Meanwhile, Delta Mayor Lois Jackson says crews including fire and police are on stand-by.
Jackson adds the high tide has come and gone.
She says some areas in Delta, particularly Boundary Bay, can be vulnerable to a major storm surge.
She is also cautioning anyone walking underneath big trees, to be careful because some of the big branches could snap.
With files from Michelle Morton