Ferries, flights cancelled as blowing snow blankets B.C.’s South Coast

Heavy snowfall and unusually cold temperatures have led to a series of ferries and flight cancellations on BC’s South Coast, creating travel chaos near peak tourist season.

Authorities from the provincial government to first responders and transit companies asked residents in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island to stay home on Tuesday because of unsafe road conditions.

The weather forced “mass cancellations” overnight at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and there were no departures on Tuesday morning. Some planes full of passengers have been on the runway for hours, unable to return to the gate for passengers to disembark.

“It’s been mentally challenging as well as physically challenging as well as exhausting,” said Jeff Bryant, a passenger stranded on a WestJet flight to Toronto from 8pm on Monday.

“I appreciate so many people because they challenged the inner turmoil they were feeling.”

A statement from YVR said staff were working to “safely remove passengers from the aircraft and clear the airport and on-board ice to get the aircraft and passengers moving again.” ” More delays and cancellations expected for the week.

Travelers were asked on Tuesday to check the status of their flights before leaving home. Those with canceled flights are asked not to go to the airport.

As for cruises, a spokesman said BC Ferries has canceled trips on all three main routes between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland due to weather.

Heavy snow covered much of the Lower Mainland overnight, covering parts of southern Vancouver Island under about 25cm thick, while Metro Vancouver is dealing with up to 15cm of snow.

“This amount of snowfall is quite severe for the Lower Mainland, an area that doesn’t normally get heavy snowfall,” said Environmental Canada meteorologist Jonathan Bau.

“The amount of snow we’ve seen is rare on the scale.”

VIEW | Vancouver has more snow, freezing temperatures:

Vancouver is affected by winter weather

Vancouver is experiencing another cold and snowfall, creating dangerous conditions and prompting the province to ask people not to go out unless they have winter tires.

Police in Abbotsford, BC, east of Vancouver, reported power outages along Highway 1 through the Fraser Valley.

Environment Canada says water will increase by 5 to 10 centimeters in most areas before snow is expected to subside late Tuesday.

The University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University have both live tests are cancelled.

Environment Canada issues weather warnings in effect for virtually all of BC, forecasting snowfall, extreme cold or arctic flow conditions.

Preliminary totals as of 6 a.m. Pacific time show unusually heavy snowfall overnight through Tuesday in several places:

  • Malahat Highway: 32 cm
  • Victoria International Airport: 30 cm
  • Nanaimo: 30 cm
  • Pitt Meadow: 25 cm
  • Vancouver International Airport: 24 cm
  • White stone: 23 cm
  • Abbotsford International Airport: 17 cm
  • West Vancouver: 14 cm

The province said motorists in the Lower Mainland “are advised to stay off the road unless their vehicle is fitted with suitable winter tires.”

For those with winter tires that must drive, a statement Monday said drivers should carry an emergency kit in their vehicle.

VIEW | Tips and tricks for driving in the snow:

Tips and tricks for driving in the snow

CBC Vancouver host Lien Yeung takes a driving lesson at Mount Seymour with Patrick Ah-Yu, an instructor from the Driving Academy Unlimited, who shows her how to get one ready cars for the winter and offers driving tips in snowy conditions.

Elsewhere around BC, the ongoing deep freeze produced several daily minimum temperature records on Monday, including a low of -46.8 degrees Celsius west of Lake Williams, while the Quesnel area broke the record set 78 years ago when it reached a low of -37.5 degrees Celsius.

Northern BC is covered in an extreme cold or arctic current warning, with cold conditions expected to continue this week.


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