British Columbia

B.C. storm closes highways, schools

A weekend snowstorm that hit large areas of B.C. has forced the closure of several highways, and schools in at least four districts.

Forecasters warn more snow on the way and possible freezing rain

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      A weekend snowstorm that hit large areas of B.C. has forced the closure of several highways, and schools in at least four districts.

      Three B.C. highways were closed on Monday morning because of the high risk of avalanches created by the weekend snowstorm.

      At 8 a.m. PT Highway 1 was closed in both directions from Craigellachie to Revelstoke. Highway 3 was also closed at the Kootenay Pass west of Creston, and Highway 31 was closed in two places, south of Meadow Creek and also north of Trout Lake. Check with DriveBC for updates on all the routes.

      School closures include:

      • Central Okanagan School District 23
      • North Okanagan-Shuswap School District 83
      • Kamloops/Thompson School District 73
      • Fraser Cascade School District 78
      • Thompson Rivers University will also be closed until at least noon.

      The storm also knocked out electrical power to about 10,000 BC Hydro customers in the Fraser Valley from Mission to Hope, 2,400 customers in the Thompson/Shuswap region and more than 1,000 on Northern Vancouver Island, as of 7:30 a.m. PT.

      Environment Canada is warning a break in the weather on Monday morning for most parts of the province will be followed by more heavy snow or rain later in the day, and possible freezing rain at higher elevations on Tuesday.

      Sea-to-Sky snarls

      On Sunday the snow also created treacherous driving conditions on the Sea-to-Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler, leaving many skiers stuck in traffic for several hours on the drive home.

      School buses in Kelowna were covered in snow on Monday morning. (CBC)

      Karen Palmer says it took her more than three hours to drive the 60 kilometres from Whistler to Squamish, but it was not just the snow creating the problem.

      "Totally brutal! I mean part of the problem is there there are cars without snow tires, but part of the problem is that the highway hasn't been plowed. No RCMP, no work crew, nobody to help the people push their cars up the hills, like just nothing. Absolutely no services," said Palmer.

      Miller Capilano Corporation, which is contracted to plow the Sea-to-Sky Highway, said it had 15 plows working yesterday — three more than it's obligated to make available. A company spokesperson told CBC that crews prepared for the storm, but heavy snow and high traffic volumes made it difficult to keep the roadway clear.

      Meanwhile the heavy snow was welcomed by ski hills across the province, including Whistler, which received 39 centimetres of new snow in 48 hours.

      On Vancouver's North Shore the snowstorm dumped 30 centimetres of snow on the mountains, allowing the three ski hills to open more terrain. But Cypress Mountain Resort was reporting the snow had already turned to rain overnight, meaning the North Shore resorts are unlikely to open completely anytime soon.

      Latest #CBCStorm photos


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