Ferries cancelled, power restored to thousands on Vancouver Island following storm
More than 6,000 BC hydro customers were without power on Vancouver Island Thursday morning as the first of several storms swept along B.C.'s coast.
By 9 a.m., 6,329 customers had lost power on the island, mostly in the Mid and North Island, with the hardest hit communities including Nanaimo, Parksville and Courtenay.
Power was restored to most customers by Thursday afternoon, according to BC Hydro.
The energy provider says it's doing its best to prepare for stormy conditions which are expected to continue into Thursday in some parts of the island, and return this weekend and early next week.
WIND AND RAIN WARNINGS
Rainfall warnings are still in effect for West Vancouver Island and North Vancouver Island, while a wind warning is active for East Vancouver Island.
The stormy conditions began Wednesday evening and are expected to persist until the end of day Thursday.
In West Vancouver Island, 50 to 60 millimetres of rain is expected to fall Thursday. By the end of the day, Environment Canada predicts that this region will have seen about 100 to 150 millimetres of rainfall over a 48-hour period.
"The ground, already near saturation, has little ability to absorb further rainfall," said Environment Canada.
"Localized flooding in low-lying areas is possible. Avoid driving through water on roads," said the weather agency.
Meanwhile, 50 to 100 millimetres of rainfall is expected in North Vancouver Island Thursday.
Environment Canada adds that snowmelt and runoff from mountains in the northern region may also contribute to flooding conditions.
In East Vancouver Island, strong wind gusts between 70 and 90 km/h are expected Thursday morning before easing in the afternoon.
BC FERRIES CANCELLATIONS
Strong winds across the coast cancelled some BC Ferries sailings Thursday. Several routes along Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and the Southern Gulf Islands were cancelled due to strong winds.
The full list of cancelled sailings can be found here.
The safety of our passengers and crew is of primary importance to us," said BC Ferries in a statement Thursday.
"We appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience experienced as a result of this cancellation."
Weather conditions are expected to improve Friday before storms return this weekend and early next week.
On Thursday afternoon, B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said that everyone in the province should plan for the storms ahead.
"There are three big pulses of storm coming, each with increasing intensity," he said.
"The time to prepare is now."