January 15, 2020 by The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER – A powerful snowstorm that has closed part of Highway 1 east of Vancouver, shuttered every public school and university across southern Vancouver Island and Metro Vancouver, has now led to a rare blizzard warning for a region just north of the city.
Environment Canada issued the warning for the Howe Sound area early Wednesday, saying gusty winds, blowing snow and near-zero visibility are expected or occurring.
The blizzard warning comes as more than 25 centimetres of snow blanketed Greater Victoria and parts of eastern Vancouver Island overnight, with more expected, while at least 15 centimetres fell across Metro Vancouver.
Treacherous conditions forced officials to close a section of Highway 1 through the Fraser Valley early Wednesday while snow and ice have also played havoc with transit services across the Lower Mainland.
Extreme cold, winter storm or snowfall warnings are in effect for all but a handful of regions from British Columbia, Yukon and Northwest Territories all the way to northern Manitoba.
Bitterly cold Arctic air has skidded southward across Western Canada carrying wind chill values in Prairie provinces that are at or below -50 C, while wind chill values in B.C.’s interior are around -40.
Victoria, Metro Vancouver and much of B.C.’s inner south coast will also be battered by strong winds over the next 24 hours, as wind warnings are posted and forecasters say gusts of up to 90 km/h have potential to bring down trees and cause power outages.