Snow blankets much of B.C. Sunday, more to come in some regions

Snow blanketed the Lower Mainland Sunday morning. Photo taken in East Vancouver.  (Liam Britten/CBC News - image credit)
Snow blanketed the Lower Mainland Sunday morning. Photo taken in East Vancouver. (Liam Britten/CBC News - image credit)

A weather system blanketed much of B.C. in snow Saturday evening, and Environment Canada warns more may be on the way for the southern part of the province.

Over Saturday, parts of Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast received up to 40 cm of snow, while Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley received between 10 and 25 cm. Northern B.C. and the central interior saw up to around 30 cm in some areas.

Snowfall warnings were still in effect Sunday afternoon for much of southern B.C., including Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Whistler, the Kootenays, Cariboo, and parts of the Okanagan.

On Sunday morning, DriveBC warned of hazardous winter conditions. It asked drivers to be cautious on highways throughout the province.

Several travel advisories recommend drivers consider changing travel plans.

Andrew Kurjata/CBC
Andrew Kurjata/CBC

In an email to CBC, the Ministry of Transportation said its road and bridge maintenance contractors were "out in full force" to clear provincial roads.

It said as of Sunday afternoon, provincial highways in the Lower Mainland were plowed overnight and were "mostly bare and wet."

"Drivers can assist maintenance crews by providing space for them on highways and moving over safely when they see a vehicle with an amber light approaching," read the statement.

B.C. Hydro says heavy snowfall caused damage to the electrical grid and a number of outages in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island.

As of 7 p.m. PT Sunday, about 240 customers were without power in the Lower Mainland. B.C. Hydro says customers in Buntzen Bay will be without service overnight as there is significant damage to power lines.

"Work has been suspended for the night and crews will resume repairs to the line Monday morning," B.C. Hydro's website said, adding that it expects all customers to have power again by late Monday afternoon.

An additional 868 were without power on northern Vancouver Island and 522 on southern Vancouver Island.

Susana da Silva
Susana da Silva

"We had a system approach from the gulf of Alaska [that] slid all the way down the coast, giving us lots of heavy snowfall," said Bobby Sekhon meteorologist with Environment Canada.

Sekhon said temperatures on B.C.'s South Coast and Vancouver Island will rise Sunday but dip back below freezing at night, which could cause a freeze-thaw cycle and occasional flurries. He said this could lead to slippery road conditions.

Metro Vancouver transit and airport delays

Translink said Sunday morning that buses in Vancouver, Burnaby, and the Tri-Cities are experiencing delays. It warned bus and SkyTrain systems may be affected Sunday due to snow.

"Please use caution, give yourselves extra travel time and remember to dress warmly in anticipation of potential delays," said the authority in a release.

The City of Vancouver said on Twitter that crews were out plowing major routes. It also reminded property owners and tenants to clear snow and ice from the sidewalks adjacent to their property by 10 a.m.

Brad Atchison/Twitter
Brad Atchison/Twitter

Vancouver International Airport wrote in a Sunday morning statement they are operating at 88 per cent of originally scheduled flights for today. It said snow is now transitioning to light showers, but there is potential for additional delays and schedule adjustments due to overnight snow.

On Saturday afternoon YVR said approximately 15 per cent of flights in and out of the airport were cancelled or delayed due to snowfall.

"Our Guest Experience team and YVR staff are in the terminal supporting those impacted by weather delays and helping new departing passengers this morning," it said.

The city of Surrey, which received 30 cm of snow overnight, says it has all of its equipment—over 50 machines—out brining the streets.

Streets manager Matt Brown said there were no road closures overnight. He asked residents to clear storm drains if they can.

"We're going to be going through a lot of freeze and thaw cycles so if you could help us out just by clearing catch basins, ensuring the roads are getting drained properly," he said.

BC Transit in Greater Victoria is also experiencing a number of disruptions to service due to heavy snowfall.

50 cm of snow in Squamish

Squamish received up to 50 cm of snow through Saturday and overnight.

Mayor Armand Hurford said he was expecting heavy traffic on the Sea to Sky highway as people head home from Whistler in the evening, but the roads were in good shape Sunday afternoon.

"It is a beautiful winter wonderland here in Squamish," Hurford said.


Hurford said he can't remember the district getting so much snow in such a short time.

"I think we are quite lucky that this happened on a Sunday and it wasn't where we had a lot of people trying to get to that Monday to Friday work schedule."