Deep freeze not over as B.C. dusts off snow and jibes from eastern Canada
British Columbia’s Lower Mainland was hit with its second snowstorm overnight, dusting suburbs with white and causing havoc on the roads leading in and out of Vancouver.
Updated Environment Canada reports say there’s more cold and snow coming.
B.C.’s winter weather is far from over, with the province’s deep freeze set to continue until mid-January, bringing temperatures up to 15 degrees lower than the yearly norm.
Environment Canada meteorologist Matt MacDonald says a weekend of snow and rain will lead to a period of uncharacteristically low temperatures as an Arctic air mass moves into the region.
He says frigid conditions will come to an end in the middle of January, when the weather is expected to return to the yearly normal.
Inland sections of the North Coast and Central B.C. are being warned about an Arctic outflow bringing strong, frigid winds.
Gusts are expected to reach 90 kilometres per hour and feel like minus 20 C with the windchill.
“Arctic outflow conditions are expected to persist into next week over all regions as colder air pushes southward once again,” warns Environment Canada as of 10:47 a.m. PT today.
In Vancouver drivers are warned now that the Alex Fraser Bridge is closed due to falling ice, to use the Massey Tunnel or Pattullo Bridge.
Reports of the Lower Mainland’s struggle with unseasonably cold weather sparked some nasty social media posts from places — like Fort St. John, B.C. and parts of eastern Canada — where minus 20 is the norm this time of year, with posts titled “Snowmageddon BC 2016” showing a light dusting, with grass poking through.
Meanwhile snow, in cities not even used to deep slush, caused havoc.
The second of two snowstorms to hit the Lower Mainland came later than predicted, but snarled traffic in Vancouver as expected. Buses slid and blocked roads. The provincial motor vehicle insurance provider (ICBC) call centre was overwhelmed with reports of fender benders and damaged vehicles, fielding more than 5,000 calls.
Parts of Vancouver and the tri-cities — Port Moody, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam — were warned to expect about 10 centimetres of snow. Grouse Mountain and other higher parts of North Vancouver got almost double that. Even a Surrey B.C. resident posted an image of a ruler in a drift, claiming snow was 18 centimetres deep and flakes were still flying.
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Road crews worked overtime with more than 40 vehicles brining and clearing the snow and slush after a nightmarish commute home for many Friday night.
TransLink suspended buses and at least one major road — Boundary Road southbound — was closed by police who warned of slippery, treacherous conditions on Knight Street and other main arteries through the city.
By Saturday morning, most roads were clear and side streets passable.
Snow remained deep at higher elevations, but warmer temperatures and some rain staved off ice forming.
There is a new snowfall warning for the Fraser Valley, where 30 centimetres of snow is expected by the end of the weekend. Also East Vancouver Island is expected to see another 10 centimetres or more of snow, especially in higher elevations.
Metro Vancouver is expecting another five centimetres today and up to 15 centimetres by the end of the weekend.
More snow was expected to hit the Coquihalla area, north of Hope, B.C., and the Sea to Sky highway heading towards Squamish and Whistler.
Despite all this the province did boast Canada’s hotspot by mid-day, with temperatures ranging from 5.6 degrees Celsius on Discovery Island to minus 36.6 degrees Celsius at Dease Lake Airport in Northern B.C.
More than 1,000 B.C. Hydro customers awoke to no power in North Vancouver, Port Moody and Coquitlam after the snow storm overnight, another 2,000 were left with no service on Vancouver Island.