Weather in Vancouver: snowfall, cold warnings in place
British Columbia is bracing for extreme weather again, this time in the form of record high temperatures and snow.
Environment Canada has issued a number of warnings with arctic winds in the forecast.
Snow fell in parts of the Lower Mainland overnight, covering some areas of snow on Friday morning.
A snowfall warning has been issued for Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley West, including Abbotsford, with up to five centimeters expected.
“The rapid accumulation of snow will make travel difficult,” Environment Canada said in a weather advisory Friday morning.
“Surfaces such as highways, roads, driveways and parking lots can become difficult to navigate due to snow accumulation. “
An Arctic exit warning has also been issued with very cold winds and dropping temperatures which are expected to combine to produce wind chill values below -20 ° C.
Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Howe Sound, the Sea to Sky Highway, Whistler, the mainland inlets of the Sunshine Coast, Comox and Campbell River will all be affected.
Near-record temperatures will begin on Saturday evening and continue at least until Wednesday.
“Temperatures will stay well below seasons and hit near record low levels for cold next week,” Environment Canada said.
Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth on Thursday warned British Columbians to prepare for upcoming weather conditions.
“Make sure you have an emergency power outage kit (and) follow your local government instructions to find the nearest emergency warming shelter,” Farnworth said.
The provincial government has come under heavy criticism for not giving the public sufficient warning of extreme weather events, such as the devastating heat dome and this year’s flooding.
This time, he doubled down on his post, withholding back-to-back press conferences Wednesday and Thursday.
Historically, Metro Vancouver has a nine percent chance of having a White Christmas, but this year the arctic air will meet a northwest flow, resulting in a very snowy day on Saturday.
“Places like Abbotsford all the way to Hope (can see) blown snow,” said Doug Lundquist of Environment Canada. “It is not entirely possible that there is no blowing snow in some places. It might look like a blizzard.
With temperatures set to plunge, authorities are warning people to be careful.
“Frostbite and hypothermia can occur within minutes if proper precautions are not taken outdoors. Any outdoor activity puts you at an increased risk of frostbite, ”Environment Canada said.
British Columbians are reminded to minimize exposed skin with hats, scarves and mittens or gloves.
Across the Lower Mainland, cities are opening warming centers and organizations are distributing survival kits.
The City of Vancouver has already recruited additional staff to clear the roads and, as usual, the main roads will be mapped out first.
“In terms of response time, it’s hard to predict because it really depends on how much snow is coming in and when,” said Amy Sidwell, street operations spokesperson for the City of Vancouver.
DriveBC is reminding people that speed limits are for ideal conditions and that is not what we will see in the next few days.
With files from CTV News Vancouver’s St John Alexander