ABBOTSFORD (NEWS 1130) – Tens of thousands of people in Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack and pockets of Langley are without power as freezing temperatures force trees and branches to snap under icy conditions.
Surrey and Langley are now a part of a freezing rain warning for the night. Environment Canada warns that surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots will become icy, slippery and hazardous. The Fraser Valley is also under a freezing rain warning.
Heavy #IceRain falling in Abbotsford. Pls use #caution driving tonight, watching for pedestrians, icy roads, possible fallen trees/ branches & flooding. #emergencycrews continue to work #aroundtheclock to ensure your safety & repond to #CallsForService. Pls #bepatient #BCStorm pic.twitter.com/t14yzFrnsK
— Abbotsford Police (@AbbyPoliceDept) December 29, 2017
Crews with BC Hydro say all available workers have been assigned in an effort to get power restored as quickly as possible, however, difficult conditions and extensive damage could mean some customers will be without electricity for an extended period.
“We had crews working through the night. There were very difficult conditions to make those repairs and they’ll continue to work throughout the day. We do have additional crews coming in to assist with the restoration efforts, just to get as many customers back as quickly as possible. The challenges we’re seeing are the black ice on the road and some access challenges,” explains Tanya Fish with the utility.
Click here for the latest updates on outages reported by BC Hydro.
Listeners called NEWS 1130 to report seeing trees falling on cars on Highway 1 while other drivers say they witnessed people having no choice but to drive into fallen debris.
Environment Canada says a freezing rain warning is in effect for much of the Fraser Valley, with conditions not expected to ease until overnight when it should turn to rain.
Meantime, most of southern BC is covered by snowfall or extreme cold warnings that are not due to budge until the weekend.
via @DriveBC – #BCHwy5 Travel Advisory. Heavy snowfall, producing limited visibility at times, is expected between #HopeBC and #Merritt through to tomorrow. Please exercise caution, be prepared for potential delays, and consider alternate routes. https://t.co/HsinVKKgf8
— BC Transportation (@TranBC) December 29, 2017
Travel advisories are posted for the entire Coquihalla Highway and heavy snow is also forecast for Highway 97C between Merritt and Kelowna, with Environment Canada calling for as much as 25 centimetres in mountain passes before Saturday.
Extreme cold warnings are also posted for the Peace River region and other sections of northern BC with wind chill forecasts to make temperatures feel as low as -40 degrees, while it will feel close to -30 degrees in Kitimat, Terrace and Stewart, thanks to Arctic outflow winds.