VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Heed the warning: be careful on Lower Mainland roads, and better yet, stay home if you can, as the region copes with even more snowfall.
The blowing snow is so bad, it forced the closure of a section of Highway 1 between Lickman Road and Sumas for most of the day. It’s also wreaked havoc on the Lower Mainland’s public transit system, with major delays across bus lines and SkyTrains in Metro Vancouver.
Meteorologist Russ Lacate says flurries, wind, and arctic air are all featured in the forecast.
“The cold air is still being supplied from the Interior by that arctic wind,” he says. “It’s actually increased, somewhat, overnight.”
Important insight from our meteorologist — don't get lulled into a sense of security once things calm down. It's just a break before another burst. Wonder how many people will go out during the break in the snow only to struggle getting home once it comes down again: https://t.co/R6FZ7kSkLC
— Martin MacMahon (@martinmacmahon) January 15, 2020
Visibility in some parts is near-zero because of the blowing snow, Russ notes.
“Stay off the roads if you can today, it’s really quite treacherous for the first half of the day,” he advises.
All major routes traversing the Lower Mainland are snow covered, with visibility dropping to near zero in #snow & blowing snow this morning. Follow @DriveBC & @DriveBC_LM for updates on changing road conditions. #BCStorm & #BCSnow coverage live on @NEWS1130 & @BT_Vancouver pic.twitter.com/Q8pyCeO231
— Russ Lacate (@NEWS1130Weather) January 15, 2020
You can expect a little break from the snow later in the day, but the forecast is still calling for cold winds, which could prove to be a challenge for BC Ferries, which was plagued by cancellations over the weekend due to the weather.
On the roads, conditions are slick, especially on routes like Highway 1 through the Fraser Valley and into Metro Vancouver.
“It took me probably about an hour and 15 minutes at about 50 kilometres per hour to get from Maple Ridge into Grandview Highway,” Derek Brown with Buster’s Towing tells NEWS 1130. “The highway is one big, white blanket of snow, and people are just kind of driving wherever they can kind of make their way. There’s no defining lanes, it’s snowing extremely hard. It is very treacherous out.”
EXTREME WHITE OUT CONDITIONS ON HWY 1. Please stay off the highway through Abbotsford to Chilliwack. Emergency crews are having a difficult time reaching stranded motorists. The roads are treacherous. Please stay home.
— Abbotsford Police Department (@AbbyPoliceDept) January 15, 2020
Various police departments, transit authorities, traffic experts, forecasters, and even the province are all echoing this message: if you don’t need to be anywhere, stay home.
“The roads, quite simply, are horrible,” Cst. Mike Wilford with the Abbotsford Police Department says. “The plows are working as quickly and as diligently as possible, but they just cannot keep up. Even keeping the snow off my police car as I’ve been driving around tonight has been a task.”
He says the further east you go along Highway 1, the worse it gets, “to the point where you can’t see the front end of your car as you’re driving.”
“We’re even having a hard time getting to stranded motorists,” Wilford tells NEWS 1130, adding he anticipates emergency vehicles will struggle around the region, at least until the snowplows have a chance to catch up.
“Right now, anything outside of a main road is barely passable, and the highway is extremely risky,” Wilford adds.
You are being reminded to drive to conditions, ensure you have the appropriate tires on for winter weather, and leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles while out on the roads.
Noel Mankey with Mainroad Contracting says his crews are not letting up until all the highways are fully cleared.
“Every truck that we have is out there currently working in the Lower Mainland. We’ve placed a lot of salt on the highways over the past two days, so much of that salt is still on the highways beneath the snow. With the warming temperatures that salt will assist in breaking up any snow that is left and allow us to clear that off,” he says.
Sidewalks are also going to be slippery, so make sure you watch your footing out there.
Meanwhile, there are a number of flight cancellations out of Vancouver International Airport and Abbotsford International Airport, so make sure you check their websites for more updates. The weather has also forced a number of school closures across the region, with all public schools declaring a snow day.
Strong winds are forecasted for overnight and into tomorrow morning, which may result in a potential storm surge in the Boundary Bay and Beach Grove area. #DeltaBC crews are prepared to respond. Learn more: https://t.co/h0KhWOyPjx pic.twitter.com/gjBnFuh2Rv
— City of Delta (@CityofDeltaBC) January 15, 2020
The City of Delta has put out a storm surge advisory for the Boundary Bay and Beach Grove area.
-With files from Amanda Wawryk and Ash Kelly