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Winds wreak havoc with ferry sailings

Storm warnings prompt caution
Kyle Wells

Powell River residents and visitors faced delays as stormy weather halted BC Ferries sailings to and from Comox for over 48 hours.

Gale-force wind and storm warnings kept the Queen of Burnaby docked in Comox all day on Thursday, December 23 and continued to disrupt ferry service late into the evening on Christmas Eve. Sailing after sailing was cancelled as winds continued to gust and the Strait of Georgia remained unsafe to cross.

Environment Canada reported southeast winds of 80 to 100 km/h (kilometres per hour) during the worst of the weather and its weather station in Powell River recorded a top wind of 41 km/h on December 24 at 2 pm. Winds began to abate around 8 pm and by 10 pm had reduced significantly.

By 7 pm Friday evening BC Ferries reported that all further scheduled sailings were cancelled and that the Burnaby would wait for the weather to abate and then make the crossing. A low-sitting ferry arrived packed with cars and passengers, some of whom had been waiting since early the previous morning, in Westview near 9:15 pm. The Burnaby set sail from Powell River at about 10 pm for its first run since 8:45 pm on Wednesday, December 22.

There were cancellations for people travelling to Texada Island also, but by 12:05 pm on Friday, December 24 service had returned to that route. The North Island Princess was also able to make some runs after 3 pm on Thursday, December 23.

Due to the ferry cancellations the Weekend Shopper was not delivered. It is included with this week’s Peak.