Environment Canada is warning of the first severe wind storm of the fall season, with the forecast Thursday night calling for gusts strong enough to down trees and cut power.
A low pressure system is expected to cause southeast winds of 70 kilometres an hour, with gusts of 90, across lower Vancouver Island, including Greater Victoria, the Southern Gulf Islands as well as the Sunshine Coast. The wind is expected to pick up around the late afternoon and early evening and ease overnight as the low moves inland. Environment Canada is forecasting the peak of the storm to be between 9 p.m. and midnight.
“This is the first significant wind storm of the season,” Environment Canada said in its weather warning. “Tree failures and power outages are possible tonight. Fallen leaves and debris could clog storm drains and create localized flooding.”
B.C. Hydro sent its crews home early this afternoon with the expectation they’ll have to be called into work overnight to remove downed trees and restore power.
“For this storm, it’s going to be a major event the way it’s looking. High winds cause havoc to our system,” said B.C. Hydro spokesman Ted Olynyk. “Staff will be called in as needed so we can be prepared for what we’re hit with.”
B.C. Hydro has its emergency operations centre up and running.
In the first storm of the season, there’s always a risk that trees dried out over the summer could topple down over power lines.
“We’ll never eliminate outages completely but we hope to lessen the impact on our customers,” Olynyk said.
Olynyk suggested people have flashlights and batteries at the ready and cellphones fully charged.
Strong winds will also hit the Lower Mainland this evening, especially near the water, but winds are not expected to reach over 60 kilometres per hour.
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