Stanley Park and VanDusen Garden closed as wind warning issued for Metro Vancouver

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      Due to a powerful low-pressure system arriving off the Pacific Ocean, high winds have resulted in a number of cancellations today and a wind warning to be issued.

      Environment Canada issued a wind warning at 12:25 p.m. today (December 20) for Metro Vancouver.

      The agency stated that sustained southeast winds of 70 to 90 kilometres per hour, which already developed this morning, will remain at this level of intensity over the next few hours.

      Winds of the same intensity are predicted to change to a southwestern direction this afternoon, with stronger gusts reaching above 100 kilometers per hour.

      This evening, winds are forecast to ease and shift to west to northwest directions.

      In White Rock, RCMP responded today to an emergency situation at White Rock Pier, in which a man was reported to have been stranded after a portion of the pier broke off during the windstorm.


      Several B.C. Ferries routes were already cancelled this morning.

      Vancouver International Airport announced that strong winds are affecting some operations at the airport. Passengers are being advised to check with their airline before leaving for the airport and to allocate extra time to arrive there. 


      The Vancouver Park Board also announced several closures today (December 20) due to weather-related concerns.

      Stanley Park has been closed until further notice due to high winds and risk of falling branches.

      Park rangers are redirecting traffic and pedestrians at Pipeline Road Roundabout.

      Lagoon Drive has been closed while the seawall has been closed from Third Beach to Lions Gate Bridge.

      The Stanley Park Bright Nights Christmas Train matinee program was previously announced as cancelled, and will remain closed for the rest of the day due to continuing high winds.

      While VanDusen Garden has also been closed due to high winds, the VanDusen Festival of Lights is still scheduled to open at 4:30 p.m.

      However, anyone planning to attend the Festival of Lights today should check the Vancouver Park Board Twitter feed to see if any changes are made due to weather conditions.

      Several power outages today were directly linked to the wind storm, including Abbotsford, Langley, Mission, Delta, Maple Ridge, Surrey, and Pitt Meadows, while the cause of numerous other outages are still under investigation.

      The winds follow after a rare tornado touched down in Port Orchard near Seattle in Washington State on December 18, damaging homes and trees. 

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook