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B.C. Ferries cancels sailings, as wind warnings issued across south coast

B.C. Ferries cancelled several sailings on Saturday due to strong wind warnings, with forecasts predicting gusts of up to 100 km/h in parts of the Strait of Georgia. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
B.C. Ferries cancelled several sailings on Saturday due to strong wind warnings, with forecasts predicting gusts of up to 100 km/h in parts of the Strait of Georgia. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

Heavy winds across British Columbia's south coast region forced the cancellation of several major ferry sailings on Saturday morning.

The travel disruptions came after Environment Canada issued warnings on Saturday about two back-to-back storms bringing "strong winds" and "possible flooding.

The agency warned that winds could gust as high as to 100 km/h on parts of Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast, and up to 90 km/h in parts of Metro Vancouver.

B.C. Ferries said it cancelled scheduled multiple sailings Saturday morning and early afternoon "to ensure the safety of our customers and crew," because of a "severe forecast for high winds in the Strait of Georgia."

As of noon on Saturday, the ferry service had cancelled four sailings on its busiest route, between the Lower Mainland and the Greater Victoria area — including its noon sailing from Tsawwassen, and the 2 p.m. sailing departing Swartz Bay.

The ferry service also cancelled seven sailings between the Sunshine Coast, Gambier and Keats islands scheduled for Saturday morning and early afternoon.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) said two storms are bringing heavy winds to the South Coast, with gusts up to 100 km/h in the Greater Victoria and Southern Gulf Islands on Saturday morning.

And later in the day, the agency said a second storm would likely bring high winds of up to 90 km/h to Metro Vancouver, including possible "minor coastal flooding."

"Strong winds that may cause damage are expected," the federal meteorology agency said in a statement online. "Loose objects may be tossed by the wind and cause injury or damage.

"Areas adjacent to the Strait of Georgia have the potential for minor coastal flooding at high tide on Sunday morning."

The storm is forecast to pass by Sunday morning, ECCC noted.

Meanwhile, the agency also issued a special weather statement for Whistler and the Sea to Sky corridor, warning of "heavy wet snow" that could hit the area.

"A frontal system continues to impact the south coast," ECCC said on its website, "bringing significant amounts of precipitation to the Sea to Sky corridor ... During periods of heavy precipitation rapid snowfall accumulation is expected."

The agency recommended travellers prepare for "adverse" road conditions, and keep an eye on weather forecasts.