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Widespread snow causing havoc in many parts of southern B.C.

Winter aggressively showing its face, causing advisories and closures

Schools throughout B.C.’s Lower Mainland are closed today, with Vancouver under an extreme weather alert as heavy snow falls across a wide swath of southern British Columbia.

Environment Canada has issued a series of snowfall warnings calling for 10 to 20 centimetres of snow from Vancouver Island to the Alberta border. Up to 20 centimetres is expected by this evening, and a snowfall warning is in place for all of Metro Vancouver, Victoria, Whistler, the Sunshine Coast and most of southern B.C.

Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim says the extreme weather alert is in place until Thursday, with extra shelter spaces being opened at 15 warming centres across the city.

Snow is expected to continue into the afternoon and possibly evening for the Lower Mainland.

A weather warning from Environment Canada remains in effect for the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver. Total snowfall accumulations of 15 to 25 cm are expected for the Fraser Valley and between 10 and 20 cm for Metro Vancouver.

Schools are closed for the Vancouver, Mission, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Langley, Maple Ridge, Fraser Cascade, Delta and Surrey school districts.

Some universities and colleges in the Lower Mainland have also cancelled in-person classes, including the University of B.C., Simon Fraser University and the B.C. Institute of Technology.

Environment Canada says visibility could be reduced at times in heavy snow and the conditions may contribute to transportation delays.

BC Hydro said thousands of customers in the southwestern corner of the province were without power due to the snowstorm, with the most-affected areas in the Gulf Islands of Salt Spring, Saturna and Galiano.

READ MORE: Snow continues to fall in Lower Mainland as schools close

Snowfall warnings and travel advisories are also scattered across the Okanagan and Interior.

Environment Canada updated their snowfall warnings just after 5 a.m. on Jan. 17 and continue to state that the Central Okanagan (West Kelowna, Kelowna, Lake Country), South Okanagan from Summerland to Osoyoos, and north up to Enderby are expected 15-20 cm of snow throughout the day.

Multiple travel advisories have also been put in place from the Chilcotin to Creston, that carry on into the southwest corner of Alberta, where accumulations of heavy snow from Banff to Milk River could reach 35 centimetres before the fall tapers off Thursday.

DriveBC, the B.C. Transportation Ministry’s information site, has issued travel advisories for 10 major routes In Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and southern B.C.

READ ALSO: Snowfall warnings, travel advisories in effect for Okanagan highways

“Drivers are advised to stay off the roads unless their vehicle is properly equipped with winter tires,” the alerts say.

In the southern Interior, Highway 1 west of Revelstoke is closed in both directions this morning as crews conduct avalanche control work above the route.

At 5:30 a.m. on Jan. 17, three early morning departing flights at the Kelowna International Airport (YLW) have been cancelled. Two of the flights were going to Vancouver (YVR) while the third was going to Victoria.

The same can be said the other way though as two flights from Vancouver and one flight from Victoria that were supposed to come to Kelowna have also been cancelled.

More than 30 flights were cancelled Wednesday morning at Vancouver International Airport, and officials were telling passengers to check their flight’s status before going to the terminal.

READ ALSO: Some flights impacted at Kelowna airport as snow blankets the Okanagan

The winter weather is also impacting flights, according to Victoria International Airport, where staff recommend confirming flight status before heading to the airport in North Saanich.

As snow and ice settle over the region, schools in Saanich are closed while Greater Victoria and Sooke school district classes are in session.

Snowfall could hit 10 cm in some parts of Vancouver Island with Greater Victoria potentially shifting to rain later Wednesday, according to Environment Canada.

READ MORE: Saanich schools closed due to ‘significant snow levels’ on Peninsula

Wintry weather conditions continue to cause havoc from coast to coast in Canada.

Extreme cold is forecast for southern Ontario with icy conditions expected from Windsor to north of Toronto, as wind chill values fall to -30.

Northern Alberta is also under extreme cold warnings with temperatures expected to dip to -40 C through the rest of the week.

Most of New Brunswick, Quebec’s Côte-Nord region and Gaspe Peninsula, as well as Newfoundland are under various winter storm and wind warnings.