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Power outages, rising rivers expected as storm heads for Metro Vancouver

First fall storm set to begin Sunday on Vancouver Island, Monday in Metro Vancouver
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A fallen tree lays on top a car parked on Nowell Street near Chilliwack Central Road on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020 during a wind storm in Chilliwack. Another windstorm is forecast for B.C.’s South Coast beginning Sept. 24. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

The first storm of the fall season is set to touch down on B.C.’s south coast beginning Sunday night (Sept. 24), and forecasters say residents should expect power outages and fast flowing rivers.

Environment Canada issued a warning for much of Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, Howe Sound, the Central Coast and Metro Vancouver on Sunday, saying winds could gust up to 120 km/h in some regions. The storm will also bring the first significant rainfall in months, and the River Forecast Centre says that could cause rivers to suddenly swell.

The storm will reach Vancouver Island first.

In the north of the island, as well as the Central Coast on the mainland, winds will reach 100 km/h Sunday night and gust up to 120 km/h. The blustery conditions will continue into Monday, when they’ll be joined by rain as well.

Environment Canada says damage to buildings may occur and power outages are likely. The weather agency recommends people avoid wooded areas in case trees or tree branches fall. Campers are told to find sturdy shelter.

Slightly milder storm conditions are predicted for the rest of the South Coast.

West Vancouver Island will see winds rise to 80 km/h and gust up to 100 km/h Sunday night, before dropping to 60 km/h on Monday. East Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast will see winds from 70 to 90 km/h Sunday, and 40 to 60 km/h Monday.

Greater Victoria is predicted to see rain and wind beginning Sunday evening, with winds from 70 to 90 km/h. They’ll drop off to 40 to 70 km/h by Monday morning.

In Metro Vancouver, winds will reach 30 km/h and gust up to 50 km/h beginning Monday morning. Near the water, they may hit 70 km/h. Rain is also forecast and Environment Canada says there is a possibility of thunderstorms.

Howe Sound is set to receive 25 to 65 mm of rain and winds between 50 and 70 km/h.

In all regions, Environment Canada warns winds may toss loose objects, knock down tree branches and cause power outages.

The River Forecast Centre says the expected rainfall will mark a significant shift in the drought conditions B.C. has been experiencing all summer. Rivers are expected to rise rapidly and the forecast centre recommends people steer clear of them from Monday to Wednesday.

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