Up to 20 cm of snow expected in B.C. as cold, wintry weather batters much of Canada

The official first day of winter is still a few days away, but the season is making its presence known across Canada this weekend, with many airports facing delays and cancellations.

1st day of winter is still a few days away, but the season is making its presence known across the country

Much of Canada is under either an extreme cold or a snowfall warning this weekend. (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)

Winter is making its presence known across Canada this weekend, with many areas of the country under extreme cold or snowfall warnings.

In B.C., up to 20 centimetres of snow is expected for parts of the Central Coast in the coming days, with 10 to 15 centimetres expected along much of the south West Coast and inland areas.

Homeless advocates all over the province urged officials to provide more help, from blankets to warming shelters.

And cold temperatures have frozen ponds and lakes in the Vancouver area that have not seen skaters in years.

Flights grounded in Ontario, Quebec

Poor conditions caused over 200 flights to be cancelled at Toronto's Pearson International Airport, while Ottawa's Macdonald-Cartier International Airport had 41 delays and cancellations and Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport had 88.

Environment Canada now says snowfall in Toronto has "tapered off to light and intermittent," but warns of freezing drizzle or ice pellets into the night. Drivers in the city are also being warned of poor road conditions as ice could build up due to the mix of precipitation. 

Power outages in Nova Scotia

In Nova Scotia, Halifax Stanfield International Airport faced 35 delays and cancellations, and province-wide, over 3,000 customers were without power Saturday morning mostly because of high winds and snow. By Saturday afternoon that number had gone down to several hundred as crews restored power. 

Most of the power outages were concentrated in Cape Breton.

Power was expected to be restored to most places by 8 p.m. Saturday local time, according to Nova Scotia Power's outage map. 

In Newfoundland, meteorologists are warning of yet another weather system as communities work to recover from severe storm surges that hammered the island's south coast Friday. The island is expected to be covered in snow by Sunday, Environment Canada says. 

Placentia and a number of towns on the Burin and Connaigre peninsulas were battered by Friday's storm, which caused infrastructure damage and flooding.

Deep freeze hits the Prairies

The Prairies are getting a blast of cold weather, with most of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta all under cold weather warnings.

The Environment Canada weather map as of Saturday mornings. Areas in red are under weather warnings. (Environment Canada)

Manitoba can expect temperatures in the -30 C range, with winds making it feel more like -40 to -45 C.

In Saskatoon, Environment Canada predicts temperatures between -30 C and -35 C, with winds making it feel as cold as -45 C. Temperatures are only expected to climb to around -20 C, Environment Canada says.

The cold continues in Alberta, with most of the province — except areas west of Calgary — under an extreme cold warning. Environment Canada says Arctic air and clear skies will make it to feel like -40 C.

In B.C., temperatures are generally not as cold as the rest of the West, but there's still snow in the forecast for Vancouver and Victoria. Environment Canada says between five and 15 centimetres of snow could fall by Sunday evening. 

If you're looking for good news in the weather, look to the local ski hill. 

A 'significant' snowfall left Toronto roads covered in slush on Saturday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

With files from Nicole Riva