Winds leave thousands powerless in Canada

March 12, 2012 at 9:51 PM

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 12 (UPI) -- High winds ripped across Canada's West Coast Monday, leaving tens of thousands without electrical power, officials said.

More than 118,000 customers were without power on Vancouver Island and elsewhere along British Columbia's coast, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

The windstorm forced the cancellation of ferry service in the province until mid-afternoon.

Tsawwassen resident Mick Jancowski told the news network one tree fell on two of his family's cars and just missed a third.

Chantal Holmstrom of Campbell River, where downed trees and debris were blocking many roadways, said she and her two children saw their neighbor's tar paper roof fly into their back yard.

"We're already seeing gusts up to 115 kmh [71.5 mph] at Sisters Island," Environment Canada meteorologist David Jones said. "All up and down the east coast of Vancouver Island the winds are gusting up over or near to 100 kmh [62 mph], and I think, given the intensity of the storm, 120 kmh [74.5 mph] is probably not out of the question for some of the gusts in the next couple of hours," Jones said.

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