Winter storm warnings in place for mountain highways after parts of Metro Vancouver awake to surprise snowfall

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Residents and businesses in Vancouver got to work shovelling snow off sidewalks early Thursday.  (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
Residents and businesses in Vancouver got to work shovelling snow off sidewalks early Thursday. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

Parts of B.C.'s South Coast woke up to a surprise hit of winter weather on Thursday morning, but Environment Canada says the snowfall has now mostly ended.

The unexpected accumulation brought a warning for the morning commute as police urged drivers to be careful.

New Westminster police reported it had responded to several collisions due to messy, slippery road conditions.

Environment Canada said up to three centimetres fell in parts of the Lower Mainland, but areas like Richmond and parts of Burnaby avoided the localized band of snow.

More wild weather is still expected for the region, too. Later Thursday, the weather agency issued a wind warning for much of Metro Vancouver and the southern Gulf Islands, saying gusts of 70 to 90 kilometres an hour can be expected early Friday morning.

Winter storm warnings are in effect for the Coquihalla Highway and Highway 3 from Hope to Princeton via Allison Pass. There's also a snowfall warning in place for Highway 3 from Paulson Summit to Kootenay Pass.

Footprints in the snow at 11th Avenue and Quebec Street in Vancouver early Feb. 25.
Footprints in the snow at 11th Avenue and Quebec Street in Vancouver early Feb. 25.

Environment Canada says it will be mainly cloudy tonight and windy at times, with a low near 3 C. Conditions are expected to clear tomorrow, with a high of 8 C, but strong northwesterly winds are also forecast.