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British Columbia | Worst windstorm in a decade?

Strong winds, high elevation snow slam B.C., one injured


Tyler Hamilton
Meteorologist

Thursday, December 20, 2018, 4:57 PM - The strongest storm in a potentially a decade is barreling towards the South Coast of British Columbia, with significant power outages and damage to infrastructure highly probable. More on the forecast below.

One man has reportedly been injured after a tree fell on him in Surrey, BC, according to local media reports. The incident occurred near Pacific Academy school in Fraser Heights. The extent of the man's injury is not yet known, but officials did confirm that weather was a factor.

"We were called to assist BC Ambulance Service for a male who had been struck by a tree that had fallen due to the wind," Surrey RCMP Sergeant Chad Greig told the Now-Leader in an interview. "That male was taken to hospital with injuries."



Powerful winds left over 120,000 of customers without power late Thursday afternoon, according to BC Hydro, with officials warning of additional outages possible through the evening. 


THURSDAY LOW


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THE FORECAST

Extreme winds are impacting the the South Coast of British Columbia. A similar storm setup to last Friday, which caused nearly a quarter million outages across Washington State and British Columbia. This storm will almost certainly knock out more customers off the grid in B.C. than the previous system that targeted Puget Sound with the majority of power outages.

The image below is a still as we approach peak wind intensity late Thursday afternoon (2-5 PM PT). The amount of isobars (lines in white) across southern Vancouver Island is on the higher end of most windstorms, so we can expect widespread damage and prolonged outages with this event.

Victoria and the the southern Gulf Islands are also susceptible to significant wind damage Thursday afternoon. By early afternoon, the SE winds will be roaring, targeting the Gulf Islands and Greater Victoria, but the winds quickly switch directions by early evening – the southwest wind punch likely peaks after dinner with gusts approaching 90 km/h for Victoria. The winds will gradually ease by early pre-dawn Friday.



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LOWER MAINLAND WIND

HEAVY MOUNTAIN SNOW CONTINUING

Over 20 cm is still forecast for Whistler in the Coastal Mountain range, with some of this deep powder expanding into the Interior of British Columbia. Parts of SE B.C. can expect over 20 cm of snowfall, especially the mountains surrounding Nelson.

As far as heavy rainfall, the system is mostly drenched the coast and parts of B.C. with the majority of the rainfall associated with this system. Just an additional 10-20 mm possible for NE sections of the Lower Mainland, as we switch gears and focus on the damaging wind threat through Thursday evening. The recent heavy rainfall has made trees extremely susceptible to falling during heavy winds. 

WEST VANCOUVER: 258 mm of rainfall and counting through the month of December.

One last note on the winds: Not ALL the Lower Mainland will see damaging winds, winds over the complex terrain have a myriad of possible solutions, and the track of the low being off my only a couple hundred kilometres can have vastly different impacts. Just because your specific neighbourhood isn't experience damaging winds, it doesn't mean the storm didn't produce damage somewhere else, relatively close by.

WATCH BELOW: BC WIND IS SO STRONG IT THREW A TIED-DOWN TENT COMPLETELY OVER THE HOUSE



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