B.C. windstorm breaks record, knocks out power to thousands

Digital WritersThe Weather Network
Digital Writers

For one community, B.C’s wicked winds produced the strongest gust ever recorded in the month of May.

Powerful winds whipping across southern British Columbia landed in the record books on Wednesday as the unusually strong storm buffeted the region. Victoria measured its strongest-ever wind gust during the month of May. The winds knocked out power to tens of thousands of customers during the storm. It’s not quite over yet. More on what to expect Thursday and beyond, below.

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An unseasonably strong low-pressure system spiraled into the B.C. coast overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, bringing strong winds and heavy precipitation to the region.

Peak wind gusts of 70-90 km/h were common Wednesday across Vancouver Island and the South Coast.


Victoria International Airport measured an 81 km/h wind gust, marking the strongest wind speed ever recorded there during the month of May. Winds were even stronger at the coast, where Race Rocks saw a gust of 93 km/h. Across the strait, Vancouver saw a 55 km/h gust, while Abbotsford peaked at 72 km/h.


The unusually blustery conditions led to tens of thousands of customers losing power during the height of the storm. A windstorm of this caliber typically wouldn’t lead to so many outages, but the leaves on the trees added extra stress under which tree trunks and tree limbs began to fail.

Winds will steadily calm through the evening as the system moves away from the region.

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The system’s steady precipitation will also begin to wane through the night. We’ll see some lingering showers across the Lower Mainland into Thursday morning, but the bulk of the rain and mountain snow is over. Some areas could see an additional 10-15 mm of rainfall before the skies clear out.

This latest round of high-elevation snow only added to the thick snowpack blanketing ranges across the province. As of May 15th, the South Coast recorded nearly 200 percent of its normal snowpack for this point in the season. Every other range in the southern half of the province also has an above-normal snowpack.


Looking toward the weekend and beyond, drier conditions will end the week and persist through the weekend. The risk for showers returns Monday, but no major storms are in sight at this point. Cooler than seasonal temperatures will dominate for the next two weeks, right through the end of May.

Stay tuned to The Weather Network for the latest forecast updates for B.C.