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PHOTOS: Record-setting ‘bomb cyclone' slams B.C., Pacific Northwest

Monday, October 25th 2021, 9:50 pm - A powerful and record-setting low-pressure system recently brought destructive winds, major swells, extreme rainfall, mudslides and flooding along the North American West Coast.

North America's West Coast is reeling after Sunday and Monday's record-setting fall storm battered the seaboard with damaging winds, extreme rainfall, dangerous surf, flooding and even mudslides.

The storm is in the record books for the Pacific Northwest in terms of low pressure. An intense Pacific jet stream sent pressure values plummeting to unprecedented lows. Buoy 46005 recorded a pressure of 942.5 mb on Sunday afternoon, which is a new Pacific Northwest pressure record. The previous record was 943 mb, which was recorded during post-tropical cyclone Harriet in 1977.

SEE ALSO: Container fire on cargo ship near Victoria mostly under control

Winds were forecast to hit 50-90+ km/h in many parts of B.C. for a prolonged period of time, beginning Sunday and lasting through Monday. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) released a summary Monday evening highlighting some of the highest gusts recorded so far:

  • Solander: 113 km/h
  • Race Rock: 99 km/h
  • Discovery Island: 98 km/h
  • Grief Point: 98 km/h
  • Herbert Island: 97 km/h
  • Victoria Kelp Reefs: 96 km/h

Comox, B.C./Submitted Comox, B.C. (Dean Stoltz/Twitter)

The result was downed trees and power lines, cutting electricity to thousands. The storm prompted wind warnings and special weather statements.

According to BC Hydro, more than 16,000 customers were without power at one point, but the numbers are declining and the tally was near 10,000 as of Monday evening. As well, because of the winds impacting Vancouver Island and the western part of Metro Vancouver, B.C. Ferries cancelled nearly two dozen Monday morning sailings.

The system also brought excessive rainfall accumulations, with 100-150 mm of forecast for western Vancouver Island and the North Shore Mountains, and 50-75 mm for the Lower Mainland by the time the system departs.

Heavy rain will continue in B.C. through Tuesday, as well, with yet another system coming at the heels of the current historic storm.

Below is a selection of visuals from the severe fall storm that battered B.C. and the U.S., currently making the rounds on social media.


As well, the MV Zim Kingston vessel encountered rough seas during its voyage across the Pacific Saturday, resulting in containers catching fire and discharging toxic gas. Most of the crew had to be evacuated while the fire was being contained.

Ship container catches fire/Canadian Coast Guard (Canadian Coast Guard/Twitter)

According to Kevin MacKay, a meteorologist at The Weather Network, the ship was damaged by 160 km/h winds as it was in a holding pattern in the Pacific, then resulting in the containers catching fire.

However, the Canadian Coast Guard said the blaze is "smouldering" and mostly under control, and an investigation will be soon be underway to assess damage.


The effects of the Pacific storm were felt stateside, as well, stretching down the entire the West Coast. In California, the storm triggered mudslides and flooding, while fierce winds brought down utility poles and downed trees.

Multiple mudslides were already reported in some of the 230,670 hectares blackened by the Dixie Fire in the Sierra Nevada mountains northeast of San Francisco.

Winds exceeding 80 km/h gusted through San Francisco and triggered power outages around Sacramento, with photos surfacing on social media that showed downed utility poles smashing cars and blocking roadways. As much as 130 mm rain was forecast.

In Washington state, two people were killed after a tree fell on their car outside Issaquah amid fierce winds in the region on Sunday, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office.

The two people were driving in a densely forested roadway when the tree came down across the car, said Sgt. Tim Meyer, a spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office, told the Seattle Times.

With files from Reuters and CBC.

Thumbnail courtesy of Anthony Bucci.

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