B.C. winter storm may force ferry cancellations on Friday

B.C. winter storm may force ferry cancellations on Friday
A BC ferry sits in the rough waters during a storm on Jan. 3, 2020.

BC Ferries says the high winds expected during Friday’s storm could lead to ferry cancellations on Vancouver Island and the mainland.

According to BC Ferries, there is a high probability that the windstorm predicted by Environment Canada to hit the coast tomorrow will affect ferry service from the morning through early afternoon.

If the storm comes through as predicted, BC Ferries said it may have to cancel ferry sailings on the following routes:

  • Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay
  • Tsawwassen – Duke Point
  • Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay
  • Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands
  • Comox – Powell River

Other routes could see cancellations.

BC Ferries also said as the adverse weather is expected to continue into the weekend so service may also be affected on Saturday and Sunday as well.

The anticipated weather conditions and sea state in the Hecate Strait have also led to a revised schedule for the 12:30 a.m. sailing of the Northern Expedition from Skidegate to Prince Rupert.

The schedule is now:

Friday, January 10
  • Depart Skidegate 6 a.m.
  • Arrive Prince Rupert 11:30 a.m.
  • Depart Prince Rupert 3 p.m.
  • Arrive Klemtu 11:00 p.m.
Saturday, January 11
  • Depart Klemtu 12 a.m.
  • Arrive Bella Bella 2:30 a.m.
  • Depart Bella Bella 3:30 a.m.
  • Arrive Port Hardy 10:00 a.m.
The vessel will return to the normal schedule with the 6 p.m. departing Port Hardy (Bear Cove) on Saturday, Jan. 11.

Inland Vancouver Island and east Vancouver Island, from Courtenay to Campbell River, Duncan to Nanaimo and Nanoose Bay to Fanny Bay are under a special weather statement. 

According to the weather agency, a low tracking south along the B.C. coast will spread moisture across the B.C. south coast beginning overnight tonight. With temperatures hovering near the freezing mark, a mix of rain or snow is in the forecast across the region.

Snowfall amounts will vary with elevation and proximity to the ocean. Environment Canada said computer guidance continues to suggest that the Fraser Valley, Howe Sound, and higher elevations of Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island have the potential for snowfall accumulations to exceed five centimetres through Friday morning. The snow is expected to change to rain near midday Friday.

This storm will also bring strong southeasterly winds to regions near the Strait of Georgia.

More snow is possible this weekend as a series of weather systems embedded in a cool northwest flow from the Gulf of Alaska moves ashore.

Early next week, very cold arctic air from the B.C. Interior will arrive on the south coast, Environment Canada said.

As for marine forecasts, there are gale warnings and storm warnings in effect.
Areas under a gale warning
  • Haro Strait
  • Juan de Fuca Strait – west entrance
  • Strait of Georgia – north of Nanaimo
  • Strait of Georgia – south of Nanaimo
  • Queen Charlotte Strait

Areas under a storm warning 

  • Johnstone Street
  • West Coast Vancouver Island South
  • Bowie – northern half
  • Bowie – southern half
  • Central Coast from McInnes Island to Pine Island
  • Dixon Entrance East
  • Dixon Entrance West – east of Langara
  • Dixon Entrance West – west of Langara
  • Explorer – northwestern half
  • Hectate Strait
  • Queen Charlotte Sound
  • West Coast Haida Gwaii
  • West Coast Vancouver Island North
  • Explorer – southeastern half

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