VICTORIA -- Special weather statements, wind warnings and severe thunderstorm watches were in effect for many areas of B.C.’s southern coast Wednesday.

Strong winds and heavy rains that swept over southern British Columbia Tuesday night left hundreds without power on the Southern Gulf Islands.

Pender Island, Saturna Island and Galiano Island were hit especially hard with outages caused by downed wires and fires.

Meanwhile, severe thunderstorm watches for Greater Victoria, East, Inland and West Vancouver Island came into effect Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier this week, Environment Canada issued special weather statements for most areas of Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands due to an approaching storm system.

On Wednesday morning, the weather agency upgraded the special weather statements to wind warnings in East Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands.

Winds of up to 70 km/h are expected to persist throughout the morning in the two regions before diminishing around noon.

During this time, high winds may cause some damage, break tree branches or toss loose objects, warns Environment Canada.

In West Vancouver Island and Greater Victoria, special weather statements remain Wednesday.

While no wind warnings have been posted for the western portion of the island, strong winds are expected to sweep over the region and more than 100 millimetres of rain is expected to fall in the area over the course of today and tomorrow.

In Greater Victoria, 15 to 40 millimetres of rain are expected to pour over the region by Thursday.

Over the next 48 hours, Environment Canada says that “unsettled conditions” may also lead to thunderstorms across southern British Columbia.

“The combination of heavy rain with leaves on the ground may lead to localized flooding,” warned Environment Canada Tuesday. “Strong winds may also lead to power outages.”

Rain is also on the forecast across Vancouver Island on Friday and Saturday.

The latest weather updates can be found on Environment Canada’s website here.