Snowfall, extreme cold warnings cover much of BC
Heavy snowfall is expected across much of British Columbia this weekend, according to Environment Canada, with up to 30 centimeters forecast for parts of the province.
Snow is expected in northern and central BC Friday night through Saturday, with accumulations ranging from 4 to 12 inches.
A winter storm warning has been issued for Prince George and Stuart-Nechako, where dangerous winter conditions, including heavy snowfall and reduced visibility, will continue from Friday through Sunday.
Heavy snowfall is expected in the southern interior, including parts of the Okanagan Valley and the Thompson, Shuswap, Columbia and Kinbasket regions, between Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening, according to the weather agency.
Special weather reports have also been added for Metro Vancouver, Howe Sound and the Sea-to-Sky region, the Sunshine Coast and the Fraser Valley, where snowfall can range from 10 to 30 centimeters at higher elevations.
Snow is expected to increase in those areas Saturday night before easing on Sunday and the system should continue through Monday, according to Environment Canada.
Rain can accompany snow in coastal areas near water, according to CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe.
The statements also apply to all of Vancouver Island and the southern Gulf Islands, where snowfall amounts of two to six inches are expected. A warning from Environment Canada may be issued as the event approaches.
Environment Canada also reports that a handful of record low temperatures for the day were set Thursday in the southern interior and along the central and southern coasts.
Clinton, northwest of Kamloops, slipped to -25C to break a 30-year-old mark by one degree, while Bella Bella, Powell River, Sechelt and Squamish also set daily records.
The weather agency warns of difficult travel conditions throughout the weekend.
For up-to-date travel information, drivers can visit DriveBC.ca.
Extreme cold in central northern BC
Extreme cold warnings issued earlier this week remain in effect for the Chilcotin, Peace River and Elk Valley regions, where wind chills could feel like -40C at times.
Arctic runoff warnings have been issued for the north and central coasts and Whistler.
Environment Canada is reminding residents to dress warmly and in layers, saying the outer layer should be windproof.
Frostbite can develop in minutes on exposed skin, especially in wind chills.
WorkSafeBC is advising employers and workers in Central and North BC that extra precautions must be taken when working outdoors in freezing temperatures.
It recommends regularly revising risk assessments to cope with changing conditions.
YVR is getting ready
Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is preparing for expected weather after all but halting operations during several days of snow and freezing temperatures in December.
“We are closely monitoring the weather and are working with airlines and our many partners to ensure passengers and planes get on their way as quickly and safely as possible,” an airport spokesman said in a statement.
According to YVR, de-icing operations are ready and airlines have been asked to ensure towing capacity so that no empty planes are left seated at the gates.
Passengers are encouraged to check the status of their flight on their airline’s website or the airport’s website prior to arrival.