Strong winds, rain slam B.C. coast, causing blackouts and ferry cancellations

(Photo from Wikimedia Commons).

ANCOUVER — Powerful winds and rain are pummelling British Columbia's coast as back-to-back storm systems move across the province this weekend.

Environment Canada issued warnings and special weather statements for the southern B.C. coast, with gusts of up to 110 kilometres per hour expected in some areas.

Vancouver Island was hit especially hard, with thousands experiencing power outages throughout Saturday. A massive outage affected 4,800 customers in Saanich but it was resolved by the late afternoon.

More than 3,300 customers were in the dark in the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast at the height of the storm, but as of Saturday evening that number was down to about 950.

In the Interior, 120 lost power in Kamloops for several hours, while Quesnel and Williams Lake had 43 customers affected by blackouts at one point.

BC Ferries cancelled multiple sailings due to high winds, including between Comox and Powell River and between Tsawwassen and Southern Gulf Islands. The company briefly lost power at its call centre.

Comox Valley residents were under a boil water advisory after the intense rainfall caused turbidity levels to rise in Comox Lake and the Puntledge River.

Environment Canada says the two moist Pacific storms will bring 80 to 120 millimetres of rain to the North Shore of Metro Vancouver and Howe Sound by Monday morning.

Several more storms are set to hit the south coast early next week, with winds gusting up to 90 kilometres per hour and daily rainfall of up to 80 millimetres.

The Canadian Press

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