Nanaimo escaped some of the worst damage of a weather bomb that caused havoc on much of southern Vancouver Island Sunday.
Heavy rains and strong winds signaled the arrival of autumn in the form of a storm that struck the north Island Sunday but was felt most strongly in the mid-Island and even impacted the Lower Mainland.
It toppled trees, cancelled dozens of B.C. Ferries sailings and plunged 30,000 homes and businesses into darkness at its peak, between 7-8 p.m. Sunday's rapidly dropping low pressure system followed on the heals of a front that soaked the West Coast much of the day Saturday. The storm's effects varied depending on location, with some in Nanaimo experiencing only heavy rainfall, while others felt powerful winds.
"It's the area just south of the low that really got hammered," said David Jones, Environment Canada regional meteorologist.
Estevan Point, on the west side of the Island, recorded peaks winds of 122 kilometres per hour. Sustained winds of 120 km/h are considered hurricane force.
"We did have a hurricane-force warning on the coast, but it wouldn't verify because it didn't sustain," Jones said.
While winds toppled trees in Nanoose and Ladysmith, Nanaimo Airport reported wind gusts of just 28 km/h. Winds reached 103 km/h in Victoria.
Strong winds downed branches on power lines in the Courtenay-Comox area, where 16,000 customers spent part of the night without power.
Approximately 100 Nanaimo customers were affected, compared to 1,000 in Nanoose, and 650 in the Errington area.
Fallers were called to Nanoose Bay to cut through fallen trees blocking roads, and in Ladysmith a fallen tree crushed a car.
"Nanaimo didn't really get too much," said Troy Soderstrom, of Davey Tree Service.
Ferry traffic through Nanaimo and many other terminals was affected by the storm.
"Across the fleet we had 40 ferry cancellations on nine routes, said Deborah Marshall, B.C. Ferries spokeswoman.
It affected all three Nanaimo ferries, both Nanaimo routes at Departure Bay and Duke Point and the downtown ferry to Gabriola Island.
"Safety is our first priority," Marshall said. "When you get heavy winds like that, it's the prudent thing to do."
B.C. Ferries vessels can sail in all but the worst weather, but "passenger service is also a part of the decision," Marshall said. "Passengers can become seasick and. .. nobody likes to get seasick."
Nanaimo received 62 millimeters of rain, or slightly more than two inches over two days.
"We saw a marginal amount of turbidity, but not enough to cause problems," said Bill Sims, city of Nanaimo manager, water resources.
Environment Canada forecasts cool, cloudy, but calmer weather this week "It's settled down," Jones said DBellaart@nanaimodailynews.com 250-729-4235
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