Few souls ventured out Wednesday morning when rain drenched Nanaimo for a second day straight and winds blew up a storm surge that contributed to a 4.7-metre high tide. A weather system coming in off the Pacific will continue serving up rain

Storm leaves thousands without power

NANAIMO – Rainfall heavy but city avoids major flooding.

A subtropical storm kept ferries docked and commercial seaplanes tied up at wharves while thousands of B.C. Hydro customers waited for power to be restored this week.

Winds, from the first wave of a large storm system that moved in from the Pacific, gusted to 90 km/h over the Strait of Georgia Monday night and Tuesday morning, knocked down trees and dropped branches on power lines across Cedar, Yellow Point and Gabriola Island, leaving about 5,000 customers in the dark until B.C. Hydro crews could make repairs.

“Cedar and Gabriola were hit by the storm, but we brought crews in from other areas and we’re well prepared for the next onslaught,” Ted Olynyk, B.C. Hydro spokesman, said Tuesday.

Nanaimo Airport also reported losing power for about four hours Monday, but backup generators supplied auxiliary power and no flights were cancelled.

High winds grounded Harbour Air and Seair morning flights out of Nanaimo until about 11 a.m. Tuesday and forced B.C. Ferries to cancel its first two morning sailings between Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay and Duke Point and Tsawwassen. B.C. Ferries also cancelled its 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. sailings between Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay Wednesday due to weather.

With the wind came plenty of rain. The storm dumped 50 millimetres of rain on Nanaimo overnight and rain warnings were maintained for Wednesday when another 40-70mm of rainfall was predicted.

But it wasn’t enough to push local rivers at flood stage, even with high tides measuring 4.7 metres Tuesday and Wednesday.

Unlike Courtenay, Campbell River and Port Alberni, which each sustained flooding in low lying areas, rain failed to overwhelm Nanaimo’s storm drain system.

“Our public works department has a very diligent program that clears leaves and debris from critical inlets,” said Karen Lindsay, Nanaimo Emergency Program manager. “They were doing that all night, which we think attributed to the fact that there were no issues such as minor flooding.”

Lindsay said Wednesday she heard no reports of significant storm damage.

Bill Sims, city manager of water resources, said the city planned to put out an advisory to residents Wednesday that drinking water would likely turn brown due water turbidity from high river flows, but there was no drinking water safety issues.

“We’re starting to see elevated turbidity, but it’s not at the point where it’s a major concern,” Sims said. “We’re just [letting] people know that they may see discolouration.”

Rain and wind are predicted again for today (Dec. 11) with the sun starting to poke through Friday.

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