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Southern B.C. braces for heavy snow as northern region endures bone-chilling cold

Mountain passes across Vancouver Island and throughout southern B.C. could see up to 40 centimetres
The first hockey game in many years took place on the outdoor rink in Barriere, Dec.24, 2021. (Lisa Dredge photo)

Winter storm, snowfall and extreme cold warnings cover almost every corner of British Columbia as the latest powerful storm sweeps into the province.

Several centimetres of slushy snow snarled Tuesday afternoon’s rush hour across the south coast but that won’t compare with the 10 to 30 centimetres of snow Environment Canada says will blanket southern B.C. on Wednesday night before easing Thursday.

The weather office warns mountain passes across Vancouver Island and throughout southern B.C. could see up to 40 centimetres, especially along Interior sections of Highways 1 and 3.

In central, northern and northeastern B.C., extreme cold and arctic outflow winds continue to create wind chill values near or below -45 C while forecasters say conditions will feel as cold as -35 C in southeastern parts of the province.

The extreme cold has led to ice buildups and the potential for flooding and ice jams on the Quesnel River in Quesnel, prompting closure of several lanes of traffic over a key bridge, although the city says detours are available.

Avalanche Canada says danger ratings on mountains across B.C. are moderate to considerable, but its website shows the risk of a slide climbs to high on south coast and Vancouver Island mountain ranges after the incoming storm arrives.

There have been many reports of avalanches on Vancouver’s North Shore mountains after about a metre of snow came down over the last week and “triggering large avalanches remains likely,” says the Avalanche Canada website.

It says backcountry users across the southern half of the province should “adopt a conservative mindset until there is clear evidence that the snowpack has stabilized.”

—The Canadian Press

RELATED: B.C. urged to prepare for holiday cold snap with -50 C expected in the north