B.C. braces for second winter storm in two days
As British Columbians dig out from one of their first significant snowfalls of the season, Environment Canada is warning of a second winter wallop on Monday.
The weather agency has issued snowfall warnings for most of Vancouver Island, including Victoria and the southern Gulf Islands, as well as for the Sunshine Coast, Fraser Valley, and Metro Vancouver. According to the warning, snow is expected to begin falling Monday afternoon and continue into Tuesday morning with as much as 10 to 15 centimetres predicted.
To add to the winter woes, the bitter cold that has gripped areas near Howe Sound and Whistler is expected to continue with wind chill values near -20.
There are also residents still in the dark after powerful winds on Saturday knocked out power to more than 70,000 customers. As of Monday morning, BC Hydro said there are still 3,000 customers waiting to have their power restored.
The snowfall warnings come a day after steady snow and blustery winds created chaos for travellers in Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island on Sunday.
The snow began falling at midday and continued well into the evening hours with some areas being hit with five to 10 centimetres in the Lower Mainland and up to 20 centimetres on Vancouver Island.
Vancouver International Airport received 10 centimetres of snow while Victoria International Airport saw 16 centimetres on Sunday, according to Environment Canada.
Early on Sunday, both airports urged passengers to check the status of their flights before arriving at the airport because of the wintry weather.
Winter weather conditions have arrived at YVR and crews are working to get passengers on their way as safely and quickly as possible. Check the status of your flight with your airline before coming to the airport and remember to give yourself some extra time to get here. Be safe!— Vancouver Airport (@yvrairport) February 11, 2019
Victoria International Airport reported multiple cancellations and delays because of the heavy snow and slippery conditions.
Multiple flights are delayed or cancelled. Roads are very slippery.— Victoria Int Airport (@Fly_YYJ) February 11, 2019
If you are driving to the airport please exercise extreme caution and give yourself extra time.
Check our website for latest arrival and departure updates and contact the airline if n… https://t.co/TQZDsfmNp9 pic.twitter.com/zVAu4YzNMW
On the roads, the falling snow created white out conditions in some areas, which resulted in dozen of collisions.
Outside of Victoria, the Malahat Highway between West Shore Parkway and Shawnigan-Mill Bay Road was closed for two hours in the evening after numerous vehicles spun out. The British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said traffic was backed up to Thetis Lake on the highway because of plows clearing the snow.
Via @DriveBC - #Malahat closed both directions at Westshore Parkway. There are numerous cars spun out. @MainroadSIsland working to get plows through and we are working to clear traffic. Queue is backed up to Thetis Lake.#yyj #vanisle #bchwy1 #yyjtraffic pic.twitter.com/HqnkHFfDyv— BC Transportation (@TranBC) February 11, 2019
Another major highway on Vancouver Island, the Pat Bay Highway, was also closed between Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal to Keating Cross Road following at least a dozen crashes, RCMP said.
In Metro Vancouver, drivers on the Alex Fraser Bridge experienced long delays following several collisions. Drive BC described the conditions on the road as “compact snow with slippery sections” and said the heavy snow was causing “limited visibility.”
#BCHwy91 - Multi vehicle incidents SB on the #AlexFraserBridge. Crews are working hard to deal with the situation. #BCHwy91 is experiencing compact snow with slippery sections, and heavy snowfall causing limited visibility. Expect major delays and please drive to conditions. pic.twitter.com/ICFQ380gUu— Drive BC (@DriveBC) February 11, 2019
Drive BC called for motorists to adjust their speed and drive according to the conditions. The government agency also asked drivers to fully clear the snow off their vehicles before setting out and turn on their headlights.
⚠️ Please remember to fully clean the snow off your car before you start driving. ⚠️— Drive BC (@DriveBC) February 11, 2019
⚠️ In SNOW, dusk, fog, or rain turn on headlights and tail lights ⚠️
⚠️ Please slow down and drive to conditions, posted speed limits are for ideal road conditions ⚠️ pic.twitter.com/MAL5vNSaM6
As with pretty much everywhere in #yvr right now, Hwy 1 is moving very slow in both directions. Pretty icy. Poor visibility. Just stay inside if you can. (Coming from an Edmontonian) @CTVVancouver pic.twitter.com/Y1H01qfDG4— Breanna Karstens-Smith (@BreannaCTV) February 10, 2019
Travellers taking public transit also experienced long wait times because of the snowy weather. TransLink said the Sky Train’s Expo Line was having “track issues” and down to a single track between Columbia and Lougheed Stations, which caused significant delays.
The agency said it arranged a shuttle train between the stations to accommodate passengers during the delays.
Vancouver bus riders were also required to have patience after they were told to expect delays of up to an hour because of the messy roads.
Despite the headaches for travellers, the unusual snowfall was welcomed by some British Columbians. Another animal appeared not to mind the abundance of snow in a video posted by the Vancouver Police Department Mounted Squad, which showed one of its horses licking snowflakes from the metal bars of its pen.
A small puppy also appeared to be embracing the weather as it bounded through deep snow in Surrey, B.C.
Another resident took a video of her snow-covered yard along with the simple caption: “Beautiful.”
With files from CTV Vancouver and The Canadian Press