Windstorm knocks out power, delays Sandspit ferry

Islands hit by first significant southeaster of the season

The first significant storm of the season howled into Haida Gwaii on Wednesday.

After noon, a downed tree knocked out power for Tlell, Skidegate and Queen Charlotte. BC Hydro crews repaired the outage, but then had to respond to another affecting Port Clements and then a second one affecting Tlell and Skidegate in the late afternoon.

A Pacific Coastal flight managed to land at Masset Airport at 11:30 a.m., but the afternoon Air Canada flight into Sandspit was cancelled. BC Ferries had to cancel afternoon sailings of the Kwuna ferry between Graham and Moresby Islands.

By 6 p.m., wind gusts of 116 km/h were recorded at the Sandspit Airport.

The southeaster should pass overnight.

Matt MacDonald is a meteorologist with Environment Canada, which placed a wind warning for Haida Gwaii earlier this week, forecasting winds of 80 to 110 km/h and waves of six to eight metres in Hecate Strait. The agency warned there may be some damage to buldings, such as torn off roof shingles or cracked windows.

The storm season typically begins in late September or early October. However, MacDonald said the storm systems have been delayed this year due to a high-pressure ridge over B.C.

“Now that the ridge is dissolving, it’s going to allow for a more regular passing of storms here.”

MacDonald said residents should take the time to make sure they are prepared now that more typical fall and winter storms are expected.

“It’s a good reminder to perhaps review your storm kits,” he said. “Particularly with the potential for power outages on Haida Gwaii.”

To report severe weather to Environment Canada, email BCstorm@canada.ca or tweet using the hashtag #BCStorm.

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On a day like this, flying is strictly for the birds. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)

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