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How much longer should we expect this deep freeze to last?

Last Updated Feb 4, 2019 at 10:53 am PDT

Summary

Special weather statement for Metro Vancouver says temperatures will gradually rise over the next few days

Arctic outflow warning for the Fraser Valley: Bitterly cold conditions to persist through Tuesday, improve mid-week

10,000 BC Hydro customers without power across the Lower Mainland

LOWER MAINLAND (NEWS 1130) – It was just days ago that people around the Lower Mainland were enjoying balmy, spring-like temperatures — and even watching the flowers come up. But now, it’s time to embrace the cold.

From snow to bitterly cold temperatures and wind, the last 24 hours have reminded us it’s winter.

NEWS 1130 meteorologist Russ Lacate says most areas of the Lower Mainland had just a skiff of snow on Sunday.

“A number of communities around Metro Vancouver barely picked up a trace until it spread out towards the coast in the evening. But inland, they did pick up more. The top end of the scale appeared to be around eight centimetres in Abbotsford.”

He says some areas are getting a few more flurries this morning. “They’re moving to the south, so they’ll be targeting the Gulf and San Juan Islands, parts of Vancouver Island, and moving into Washington state.”

That leaves us with sunshine, but Russ says it won’t thaw. Today’s high is only expected to be about minus-1.

Overnight lows are expected to be between minus-8 and minus 12.

“Those windchills [will feel] down into double-digits below zero,” he added.

More sunshine is expected tomorrow with highs around minus-2.

“We’re still in the deep freeze on Wednesday with more sun. A low of minus-10 and a high near zero.”

An arctic outflow warning has been issued for the Fraser Valley.

Power outages

About 10,000 BC Hydro customers had a cold wake-up Monday morning, due to power outages in the region.

“These outages are the result of high winds that have knocked out power, as a result of downed trees and branches coming onto our power lines,” said Tanya Fish with the utility

She says crews are out in full-force, working to restore power. “We really appreciate customers’ patience, especially given the cold temperatures we’re experiencing this morning.”

Fish adds since the devastating December windstorm that caused mass power outages, crews have been doing some preventative work.

“Cleaning up any branches or any trees that potentially were loosened as a result of the wind that we experienced during the December storm. There’s potential these outages could be a result of some trees and things that are leftover from that.”

She notes it can take some time for crews to restore power.

“It depends on the damage that we’re dealing with. For example, a downed power pole would take about eight hours to repair … Downed power lines take some time to re-string and get power back up there.”

WATCH: First blast of winter weather

Trading in warmer temperatures for coats, shovels, and salt

People living in some pockets of the Fraser Valley don’t need a reminder it’s still winter, but for the many people who were basking in the sun just days ago, this blast of cold air is reminder enough that there’s still some of the season left.

For the most part, many Metro Vancouverites say they’ve prepared for the snow.

“When we came outside from home, we always check the weather, what kind of weather it will be,” Jasleen said. “We always carry a cap and gloves with us.”

Donning their toques, warm coats, boots and gloves, some say they’ve even gotten their shovels and salt ready to go in case more flurries come down.

In preparation for even more freezing temperatures, others, like Victoria, say they’re foregoing driving for public transit until things warm up.

“In case it snows more,” she said. “I don’t like to drive in the snow.”

Victoria says the turnaround from warm to cold was a little quick, but adds the conditions here right now aren’t quite as bad as what Eastern Canada is dealing with.

“We shouldn’t complain, it’s nothing really and it’ll be gone soon. So I’m happy,” she told NEWS 1130.

But not everyone is prepared. Isha says the wintry weather caught her by surprise.

“I thought the whole winter was over, almost,” she said, wearing nothing but a light jumper and scarf. “But it happened, now I just have to go home and take out all my jackets, caps, and everything.”

And she’s not completely alone — Monique says the quick turnaround also caught her off guard, even if she knew there was more winter left.

“I knew that we were going to get snow, but no, I’m not really prepared,” she admitted. “It’s so late in the season that I thought that it’s probably going to be brief, right? And it’s increasingly getting warmer, so I can’t imagine that it’s going to get too stormy.”

Again, reflecting on the cold and snow provinces like Ontario are dealing with, Monique adds things could be much worse.

“We are so lucky, we’ve had an amazing year for sure, with weather… I appreciate it,” she said.

The cold snap has triggered emergency responses from cities like Vancouver and Surrey, where extra shelter spaces and warming centres have opened for those looking for a break from the frigid temperatures.

RELATED: Chilliwack shelters nearly at capacity with cold snap, says no one will be turned away

If you think it’s cold here on the Lower Mainland, just head a little further north.

Extreme cold warnings are still blanketing the central part of the province, from Burns Lake to the Peace River region. Wind chills have been hitting minus-40.

The very old, the very young, and people working or exercising outdoors are considered especially at risk.

RELATED: Hwy 1 re-opened in Abbotsford after multiple-vehicle crash, roads hit with snow

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