Promise of heavy weather brings storm watchers out in force


It could have been a whole lot worse. And quite a few Victoria-area storm watchers sounded like they would have been happy if Saturday’s weather had packed more of a wallop from the last gasps of Asia’s typhoon Songda.

After all, they turned out in droves to see what was forecast as the biggest and possibly most dangerous wind and rain storm since 1962.

> Story: Storm updates, with information about weather warnings, B.C. Ferries cancellations and B.C. Hydro outages

The Ogden Point breakwater was mobbed at 6 p.m., the forecast start time for the serious weather.

“It’s not as crazy as I had hoped,” said cyclist Mark Armstrong, 31, checking out the scene at Ogden Point and waiting for waves big enough for “the perfect Facebook photo.”

Winds at Victoria International Airport topped out at about 70 kilometres an hour, according to Environment Canada — well below the 100 km/h predicted.

There was a community vibe on Dallas Road, where drenched pedestrians posed for countless selfies and wall-to-wall cars cruised Clover Point checking out Juan de Fuca Strait, while nearby daredevils climbed on giant logs washed up opposite Ross Bay Cemetery.

“I thought it was going to be a lot worse,” agreed Kayla Balfour, 26, who had just walked the breakwater with companion Tom LeBlanc, 27 — a journey that left both happily drenched.

“It’s such an awesome power that only waves can provide,” he said.

Adam Azer, 38, and Kayla Hogg, 32, made an evening of checking out beaches all over the capital region, starting with Island View Beach and Ogden Point before heading to Turkey Head in Oak Bay.

“It’s pretty fun,” Azer said. “I’ve never seen this many people out storm watching.”

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