No corner of B.C. has been let off the hook in the latest round of winter storms to pummel the province this week, leading to highway closures, chaotic commutes and pending concerns of frostbite.
On Thursday, the northern-most parts of B.C., such as Dease Lake and the Peace River region, saw temperatures plumment to around -40 C. Environment Canada’s latest forecast on Friday (Jan. 7) warned that a cold air mass will bring winds and keep the region ice cold through the weekend.
Officials warned that young children, older adults and those with chronic illness are at risk of health issues from the cold. Frostbite is also a major concern.
“Watch for cold related symptoms: shortness of breath, chest pain, muscle pain and weakness, numbness and colour change in fingers and toes.”
Meanwhile, in the Interior, more snow is expected to fall Friday, leading to travel advisories on Highway 3 from Hope to Princeton, Highway 1 from Eagle Pass to Rogers Pass, as well as the Yellowhead and South Klondike Highways.
Highway 3 at Allison Pass and Kootenay Pass is closed due to high risk of an avalanche.
On the Coquihalla Highway, which is currently only open to commercial vehicles, up to 25 centimetres of snow is forecast to fall. That highway is closed due to freezing rain.
Highway 99 is open but is under an avalanche warning from Pemberton to Lillooet.
The Kootenays are continuing to see ample snow fall, with a further 10 to 20 centimetres expected to blanket at higher elevations.
“Consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve,” the weather agency warned. “Prepare for quickly changing and deteriorating travel conditions. Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow.”
Along the south coast, Fraser Valley and Howe Sound are under warnings for freezing rain. Travellers have been reporting icy conditions along many major highways in the Eastern Valley. Schools remain closed for a second day there.
The national weather agency is calling for strong wings through Metro Vancouver and Greater Victoria – reaching gusts of 90 km/h. There are about 20,000 BC Hydro customers without power in the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast and northern Vancouver Island as of 9:15 a.m.