Sudden, blowing snowfall that pummelled much of British Columbia with a side of freezing wind on Sunday, knocking out power to thousands and wreaking havoc on city roads, isn’t expected to return in similar fashion Monday — the province will instead see its “coldest air so far this winter,” forecasters say.
An Arctic front that pushed onto the South Coast on Sunday night has prompted extreme cold and Arctic outflow warnings across virtually all of B.C.
Environment Canada warned the storm system will bring winds up to 80 km/h with wind-chill temperatures of –20 C or lower in the south, and nearing –40 C in northern areas.
“The entire province right now is below freezing temperatures,” Environment Canada meteorologist Bobby Sekhon said Monday morning.
A snowfall warning is also posted for the west coast of Vancouver Island.
Sunday’s snow across the inner South Coast caused dozens of crashes, delays or closures on several highways and bridges. Drivers woke up Monday to find slushy, icy roads and a dicey commute. Some ended up in gridlock traffic.
The foul weather even grounded Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who intended to travel from Vancouver to Victoria for a meeting with B.C. Premier John Horgan. The premier’s office said Monday the two leaders will speak by video conference instead.
Schools closed, power out
At least half a dozen school districts in B.C., mostly in the Fraser Valley, cancelled classes Monday due to unsafe conditions and the amount of snow on the ground. Both campuses of the University of the Fraser Valley were also closed for the day.
More than 7,000 customers across the Lower Mainland, Okanagan and northern half of Vancouver Island remained without power Monday morning after the storm, but hydro has since been restored to most residents.