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STORM CENTRE: Whiteout conditions, slick roads as Lower Mainland hit with more snow

Last Updated Jan 15, 2020 at 5:14 pm PDT


More snow is falling around the Lower Mainland, creating whiteout conditions in some parts

Road conditions are slick around much of the region; drivers are reminded to slow down and have appropriate tires

Meteorologist Russ Lacate says snow, wind, and arctic air are all featured in the forecast today

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.”

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.

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.

Road conditions

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.”

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.

The City of Delta has put out a storm surge advisory for the Boundary Bay and Beach Grove area.

Listen live for traffic updates every 10 minutes on the ones. You can also follow us on Twitter @NEWS1130Traffic or subscribe to breaking news alerts sent directly to your inbox.

You can also follow meteorologists Russ Lacate and Michael Kuss on Twitter for the latest on the weather conditions. Catch their reports every 10 minutes after traffic.

-With files from Amanda Wawryk and Ash Kelly