Freezing rain, more snow heading for Metro Vancouver as deep freeze continues

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Freezing rain and more snow are headed for parts of Metro Vancouver as residents of B.C.’s South Coast continue to deal with the ongoing snowstorms this week.

The second of two snowstorms to hit the Lower Mainland came later than predicted Friday, but it 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.

And the disruptions continued into the weekend.

The Alex Fraser Bridge connecting Richmond to Surrey and Delta reopened Saturday evening after it was closed earlier in the day because of falling ice.

But the Burnaby campus of Simon Fraser University remained closed as buses struggled to make their way up the mountain.

While temperatures by the water in Vancouver were warm enough for the precipitation to turn to rain, an Arctic outflow is still causing snow to fall at higher elevations and eastern sections of Metro Vancouver.

Parts of Vancouver and the tri-cities — Port Moody, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam — were warned to expect about 10 centimetres of snow Saturday.

Environment Canada warned residents of Abbotsford of a risk of freezing rain Saturday night.

Conditions worse in Fraser Valley

“The cold air unfortunately has its grip over the Fraser Valley and eastern sections of Metro Vancouver,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Jonathan Bau.

The Fraser Valley around Abbotsford is expected to get another 10 centimetres of snow overnight Saturday and into Sunday.

Bau says there’s more cold, but dry, weather coming next week. Temperatures could drop as low as -10 C and possibly break records.

Snow vancouver

A man walks in the snow in Vancouver on Friday, Dec. 9. Snow is continuing to fall in parts of Metro Vancouver on Saturday. (Kamil Karamali/CBC)

White Christmas?

But for those wishing for a white Christmas, the weather service is forecasting a return to rain the week before the big day — although Bau said temperatures could remain low enough in the Fraser Valley to keep snow on the ground.

Bau said climatologists are predicting the weak La Nina system, which typically brings cooler weather for B.C.’s coast, to last until about mid-January.

“So, hopefully, by then we’ll see a return to more normal, or more seasonal weather,” Bau said.

Meanwhile, Environment Canada is warning inland sections of the North Coast and Central B.C. about an Arctic outflow bringing strong, frigid winds.

Gusts are expected to reach 90 kilometres per hour and feel like -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,” warned Environment Canada as of 10:47 a.m. PT Saturday.

West Vancouver snow warning

Police are warning drivers to be prepared for winter conditions and give themselves extra time to get to their destination. (West Vancouver Police/Twitter)

Powder at the ski hills

While many complained about dangerous road conditions in the city, on the local mountains skiers were delighted with the powder.

50 centimetres of snow fell on Mount Seymour overnight. At this time last year, the ski resort was still days away from opening.

“It’s been a number of years since we’ve seen such a strong opening,” said Mount Seymour director Eddie Wood.

“And not only is there a lot of snow, but the quality is exceptionally good for this time of year.”

Skiers lined up to buy season passes and the hill was busy Saturday afternoon.

Snow storm B.C . Port Moody

Snow remained deep in the higher elevations of the Lower Mainland of B.C. this morning. (Yvette Brend/CBC)

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Freezing rain, more snow heading for Metro Vancouver as deep freeze continues

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