Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for Metro Vancouver, with expected snowfall amounts of between five and 15 cm mixed with freezing rain Thursday night and Friday morning.

A period of extended freezing rain is expected for eastern portions of Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Howe Sound, Environment Canada said.

Cold weather and snow in the Fraser Valley east of Vancouver has kept many schools in the region closed on Thursday.

Environment Canada also warned that Arctic outflow winds in the Fraser Valley and along the B.C.'s South Coast will give wind chill values of -20, and a low as -40 on the North Coast during the day.

On Thursday night a major storm is expected hit the West Coast, bringing strong winds and freezing rain, and up to 15 centimetres of more snow for northern and inland regions on Friday.

In Northern B.C. the wind chill values are forecast to hit -50 on Thursday and Friday with winds gusting up to 90 km/hr.

A travel advisory has been issued for the Coquihalla Highway 5, warning there is limited visibility due to blowing snow from Exit 202 to 256.

BC Hydro says about 1,800 customers from North Vancouver to Port Moody were without power on Thursday morning. The cause is under investigation.

TransLink is reporting public transit in Metro Vancouver was operating normally for the morning commute, but warned there could be delays on the SkyTrain system if the doors freeze up in the cold weather.

"Because they are on a train that is outside and is basically creating its own windchill, the doors can freeze up and because the train system will not allow it to move until it is certain the doors are well and truly closed, it will stop until we can get the doors unstuck," said Drew Snider.

Much of B.C. has been in the grip of a cold snap since the weekend, when a cold mass of Arctic air moved down over the Interior of the province.

School closures

  • Mission School District - all pubic schools.
  • Fraser-Cascade School District - all schools.
  • University of the Fraser Valley – all campuses.
  • MTI Community College, Chilliwack campus.
  • Matsqui, Barrowtown and Upper Sumas schools, Abbotsford.
  • Abbotsford school buses not running for Sumas Prairie and Matsqui Prairie areas due to extreme conditions. 
  • Agassiz Christian and preschool.
  • Chehalis School, Agassiz.
  • Seabird Island community school and daycare, Agassiz.
  • Chilliwack School District - all public schools.
  • Unity Christian and Little Blessings preschool, Chilliwack.
  • Cascade Christian school, Chilliwack.
  • A is for Apple preschool and daycare, Chilliwack.
  • John Calvin School, Chilliwack. Ecole La Verendrye, Chilliwack.
  • Ecole La Verendrye, Chilliwack.
  • Credo Christian school, Langley.
  • Valley Christian School, Mission.
  • Ecole des Deux Rives, Mission.
  • Hope Lutheran Elementary School, Port Coquitlam.