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Snowfall warnings blanket B.C., with up to 20 cm expected

Additional risk of freezing rain along southern coast, says Environment Canada

Just as B.C. emerges from the weekend deep freeze, it is diving back into a different kind of winter weather.

Environment Canada has issued snowfall warnings for much of the province, with up to 20 centimetres forecast to fall in some regions.

The southern half of the province will see the most fresh snowfall, with between 10 and 20 cm set to land. Environment Canada says the snow storm will begin Tuesday night (Jan. 16) and last into Wednesday afternoon or evening.

Along the southern coast, including the bottom two-thirds of Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, the Sunshine Coast and the Whistler area, Environment Canada says there is also a risk of freezing rain Tuesday night.

More northern parts of the province are also under warnings.

Areas north of Williams Lake will see between 10 and 15 cm of snow throughout the day Tuesday, Environment Canada says. The northern coast will receive a bit less, with 5 cm forecast for Tuesday morning. And the inland north coast, around Terrace and Kitimat, remains under a cold weather warning, with wind chill values of -20 to -25 C expected until Thursday.

Environment Canada is warning people to prepare accordingly.

“Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow. Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become difficult to navigate due to accumulating snow. Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions.”

The City of Vancouver is warning residents to avoid non-essential travel as a storm bears down Tuesday night, possibly easing by late Wednesday. The city is also asking residents to stay off the streets to allow crews to clear the roads when the snow begins to fall.

Crews are pre-treating priority routes, including bridges and streets around hospitals, but warned that residential roads are not included in treatment plans.

Residents are asked to have shovels and de-icing materials ready, and failure to clear their sidewalks within 24 hours of snowfall may result in fines up to $750.

Meanwhile, Environment Canada has lifted most of the extreme cold warnings in the Prairies, but says the long period of bitterly cold temperatures will continue in Alberta’s north with wind chill values near -40 C.

Toronto’s Pearson Airport issued a statement on social media saying weather systems across Canada may impact flights into and out of the city, and some airlines have cancelled flights into Europe, especially Germany, due to weather systems there.

Southern Ontario is dealing with a handful of snow squall and extreme cold warnings, watches and advisories, and the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec is under a winter storm warning where people are asked to postpone non-essential travel.

In Atlantic Canada, most of New Brunswick is under a mix of snowfall, winter storm and freezing rain forecasts, and Nova Scotia as well as Newfoundland and Labrador face a patchwork of rainfall, winter storm and wind notifications with gusts up to 140 kilometres an hour possible in some areas.

-with files from Canadian Press

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