LOWER MAINLAND (NEWS 1130) – Hazardous winter conditions are expected in parts of the Fraser Valley today.
A winter storm warning is in effect for the central and eastern parts of the region. Environment Canada has also issued a snowfall warning for the western part of the Fraser Valley, including Abbotsford.
“It’s a virtual Clash of the Titans! We’ve got the cold, Arctic wind pouring out from the BC Interior and colliding with this over-running, soaking-wet airstream coming in off the Pacific. It’s bringing heavy snowfall to the Fraser Valley today and tonight,” says NEWS 1130 Meteorologist Russ Lacate.
— Russ Lacate (@NEWS1130Weather) January 11, 2018
“The warnings are all confined to the Fraser Valley,” Russ emphasizes. “It is for potential accumulations of 20 to 30 cm in eastern-most areas. It’ll be more like 10 to 15 cm for the central Valley and north of the Fraser.”
“Across coastal communities, it’s expected to be a cold and, at times, sleety rain in Metro Vancouver,” he adds.
Sergeant Judy Bird with Abbotsford Police says they are seeing varying conditions across that city, and drivers need to be prepared.
“We are warning those who are travelling throughout Abbotsford to be prepared for the different weather conditions. Make sure you have the proper snow tires and expect possibly slippery or slushy conditions.”
West #Abbotsford vs East Abbotsford. Very different #weather conditions in @City_Abbotsford today. Please #PlanAhead for your travels today! #BCStorm #snowday2018 #DriveSafely pic.twitter.com/k5Z8nazh5A
— Sgt Judy Bird APD (@JudyBirdAPD) January 11, 2018
During a massive winter storm just a couple weeks ago, over 100,000 BC Hydro customers were left without power — some for several days.
“I think we were the hardest-hit city in the Lower Mainland,” says Bird, looking back at that storm.
“The roads were treacherous. We had power lines down, trees down — it was very dangerous for people to be on the road,” she tells us. “Not only that, but we have emergency crews… trying to get to high-priority calls and it was difficult for us… People were getting stuck, sliding off the road. It was impassable, in some parts.”
Snowfall warning in effect for #Abbotsford. Rain will change over to snow as temperatures fall to the freezing mark. Local amounts between 10-15 cm can be expected. Our roads crews are out.
Please drive carefully.
— City of Abbotsford (@City_Abbotsford) January 11, 2018
She says drivers should slow down and take their time in winter driving conditions, no matter how confident they are behind the wheel. “If you are comfortable in the snow and you have no problem driving in it, consider that there are other people on the road, trying to get where they need to go and they may not be as comfortable.”
People Metro Vancouver and the western part of Abbotsford may be experiencing relatively normal conditions, and Bird says if you are heading east, you should be prepared for a drastic change in conditions.
“It is very deceptive and I think you’ll be in for a rude awakening once you hit the Whatcom/Sumas area of Abbotsford, as the snow starts to pile and the weather conditions deteriorate.”
“Don’t put pressure on the drivers around you. We all have places to go and we all want to get there safely. Please be patient, be kind to one another, and make sure that you drive carefully. Drive slowly… and drive appropriate to the weather conditions. We don’t know what’s under that first layer of snow. It could be ice,” adds Bird.
Highway weather conditions
A snowfall warning has also been issued for the Coquihalla Highway between Hope and Merritt, as well as Highway 3 between Hope to Princeton. Environment Canada forecasts accumulations up to 15 centimetres. It also warns of hazardous driving conditions.
Good morning from the BC Weather Office. Lots of warnings & statements out for our latest #BCstorm. For the south coast we have:
— ECCC Weather BC (@ECCCWeatherBC) January 11, 2018