British Columbia·Video

Storm hits Metro Vancouver and southern B.C. with wind, rain and snow

Environment Canada says Metro Vancouver can expect up to 90 millimetres of rain, while the Coquihalla and Sea to Sky highways are in for a significant dump of snow.

Snowfall warning for Coquihalla, Sea to Sky as B.C. winter storm ramps up

A car sloshes through rain late Wednesday night in Burnaby. Rain, wind and snow alerts have been issued by Environment Canada for much of Southern B.C. Thursday. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Rain warnings | Snow warnings | Wind warnings | Transit advisories | Wastewater advisories

This week's winter storm is officially out in full force.

Rain, wind and snowfall warnings are in effect for B.C.'s South Coast, from the west coast of Vancouver Island to the West Kootenay. Metro Vancouver, in particular, is in for a deluge of rain.

Here's a breakdown of those advisories:

Rain

Environment Canada says the following regions can expect between 70 and 90 millimetres of rain by Friday morning. Localized flooding and washouts near rivers and creeks are possible.

  • Metro Vancouver (North Shore to Maple Ridge)
  • Fraser Valley
  • Howe Sound

The rain, according to the weather service, should let up Friday morning.

It advised drivers to watch for pooling water and flash floods, and, in some areas, road washouts.

Here are some tips for protecting your vehicle from damage while driving in heavy rain:

Want to avoid damaging your vehicle? Here's what you need to know. 1:12

Snow

The weather agency has forecast a dump of snow in these areas, which includes several major highways. Drivers are asked to slow down and be careful on the roads.

  • Coquihalla Highway (Hope to Merritt) — Up to 15 centimetres
  • Whistler — 20-25 centimetres
  • Sea to Sky — 20-25 centimetres
  • Trans-Canada Highway (Eagle Pass to Rogers Pass) — 15-30 centimetres
  • Highway 3 (Paulson Summit to Kootenay Pass) — 15-30 centimetres
Looking north at the Zopkios Rest Area near the Coquihalla Summit at 8:52 a.m. on Thursday morning. Up to 30 centimetres of fresh snow is expected along the highway, between Hope and Merritt. (Drive BC)

Myson Effa said he was driving the Sea to Sky between Pemberton and Whistler when he hit a traffic jam caused by slushy conditions around 9 a.m. PT.

Effa usually makes the trip in 20 minutes, but said it would take closer to an hour on Thursday.

"This is one of the worst times ever ... crawling at 20 km/h, but we were dead stopped for a while at Emerald Lake," Effa said.

Traffic along the Sea to Sky Highway was bumper to bumper in the Alpine Meadows area by 9 a.m. Monday morning. The road is expected to see another round of snowfall on Thursday. (Cleaning Fairy Whistler)

Wind

Gusts of 70-100 km/h are expected in these parts of the province on Thursday, particularly in the most exposed areas:

  • Metro Vancouver
  • Greater Victoria
  • West Vancouver Island
  • East Vancouver Island
  • Sunshine Coast

Environment Canada said the wind could be strong enough to toss around loose objects and damage windows and shingled roofs.

The winds may not arrive in some areas until Friday, the weather service said, and could last until the weekend.

Transit advisories

The SkyTrain Millennium Line between Commercial-Broadway and VCC Clark will experience delays Thursday after an overnight landslide.

Mud and debris ran onto the SkyTrain track after rain caused flooding behind a retaining wall. The stretch will be running on a single line all day.

"We would have to power down the system in order to inspect, so that will happen overnight," said TransLink spokesperson Jill Drews.

Customers going to and from VCC Clark will have to transfer to a shuttle train at Commercial.

Wastewater issues

The Capital Regional District issued an alert for several locations in the Greater Victoria area advising that the heavy rains caused stormwater and wastewater to overflow at several shoreline areas Tuesday.

The district said people should not enter the water along the shorelines:

  • Between Rutland Road (Oak Bay) and Seaview Road (Saanich) including Cadboro Bay
  • Between Trafalgar Park and Radcliffe Lane including McNeill Bay in Oak Bay.
  • Between Fraser Street and Victoria View Road in Esquimalt.

It said beaches in those areas will have public health notices posted until tests for E.coli bacteria come back within safe recreational levels.

District spokesperson Andy Orr said due to the weather, that might not happen until next week.

The South Coast has been battered by winter weather this week. On Tuesday, pouring rain caused flooding, road closures, traffic disruptions and SkyTrain delays in Metro Vancouver.

With files from Yvette Brend

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