British Columbia

Snow in overnight forecast for Metro Vancouver

Special weather statements are now in effect for Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and parts of Vancouver Island. 

TransLink enacts a snow plan and BC Ferries warns of potential cancellations

A woman crosses the street as snow falls in Vancouver, on Feb. 12, 2019. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Grab your toque because Metro Vancouver is bracing for the possibility of up to 25 centimetres of snow at higher elevations on Friday.

Special weather statements are now in effect for Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and parts of Vancouver Island. 

Here's everything you need to know:

The South Coast is bracing for potential snowfall in the evening. Environment Canada says accumulations may be from five to 25 centimetres. The weather system is also forecast to bring strong winds near the Strait of Georgia.

Highway 1 closure

Highway 1 will be shut down for two hours near Revelstoke, B.C., on Thursday afternoon for planned avalanche control after days of snowfall.

DriveBC said the highway will be closed between the east boundary of Mount Revelstoke National Park to the west boundary of Glacier National Park from 1 to 3 p.m. PT. There is no detour available.

New snowfall warnings are in effect for the Bulkley Valley and the Lakes District as well as the North and Central Coasts. Up to 25 centimetres of snow are expected by Friday afternoon.

The weather agency said more snow is possible further south this weekend, with a blast of frigid Arctic air in the forecast next week.

Avalanche control taking place over Highway 1 near Glacier National Park in 2018. The highway will be closed for several hours Thursday for more avalanche work after days of fresh snow. (B.C. Ministry of Transportation)

TransLink activates snow plan

In anticipation of the early morning snow, TransLink is activating its snow plan to keep service as reliable as possible.

Extra staff will be on hand to assist customers and coordinate with municipalities if priority routes are impacted. Special trucks will be deployed to spread anti-icing solution on trolley wires and brass cutters will be installed on some trolley buses to cut through ice on trolley wires.

Millennium Line trains will be coupled into four-car configurations to increase capacity while SkyTrain attendants the tracks.

If conditions becomes severe:

If conditions worsen, TransLink will replace articulated buses with 40-foot conventional buses as needed because they are more agile on steep, slippery areas. Tire socks will be installed on buses on Burnaby Mountain and on key North Shore routes that are hilly.

A special SkyTrain spraying de-icer will run to keep trains moving and trains will run throughout the night, if snow is especially heavy, to keep tracks clear.

A HandyDART will be sent out with two staff per vehicle to assist in digging out buses if required.

BC Ferries warns of possible cancellations

BC Ferries is warning that the windstorm predicted by Environment Canada for Friday morning is likely to affect ferry service in the morning and early afternoon.

If the storm is severe, BC Ferries may cancel sailings on the following routes:

  • Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay
  • Tsawwassen – Duke Point
  • Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay
  • Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands
  •  Comox – Powell River

BC Ferries is warning that there could be further cancellations over the weekend. 

Warming centres open

The City of Vancouver has been salting and brining streets in preparation for any snow. Staff and equipment have been "readied for 24-hour deployment if required," according to a statement Thursday.

Warming centres will be open from Sunday to Wednesday. Anyone is welcome, as are their belongings and pets. Hot drinks and snacks are available, and those with their own bedding can sleep at the centres.

The Powell Street Getaway, next to Oppenheimer Park, is already open and will remain open until Wednesday.

Other centre locations include:

Sunday to Tuesday:

  • Britannia Community Centre (9 p.m.- 8:30 a.m.)
  • Vancouver Aquatic Centre (10 p.m.- 6 a.m.)
  • Overdose Prevention Society (11 p.m.- 8 a.m.)

Wednesday:

  • Britannia Community Centre (9 p.m.- 8:30 a.m.)
  • Overdose Prevention Society (11 p.m.- 8 a.m.)

The city said warming centres have been visited 2,597 times over 22 nights of operation since winter began.

The City of Victoria has also activated its extreme weather protocol to increase the number of available shelter spaces during bitter winter conditions. An additional 395 spaces are available.

Clearing snow

City of Vancouver bylaws state property owners and occupants must clear snow and ice from sidewalks around their property by 10 a.m. the morning after a snowfall, seven days a week.

Those who are not able to do so themselves are asked to find someone to do it for them, or contact the city's Snow Angel Program to be paired with a volunteer.

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