Cold temperatures, snow continue Friday for parts of Vancouver Island

Cold temperatures, snow continue Friday for parts of Vancouver Island
Crews were kept busy plowing the roads on the Malahat Highway on Jan. 11, 2024.

While some may be ready to say goodbye to the cold weather, the frigid temperatures aren’t ready to leave Vancouver Island just yet.

Greater Victoria, North Vancouver Island, Courtenay to Campbell River and the Southern Gulf Islands remain under an arctic outflow advisory, while Nanoose Bay to Fanny Bay is under a special weather statement for snowfall.

The areas under an arctic outflow advisory will see wind chill values of -20°C, in a continuation of similar temperatures seen on Thursday.

READ MORE: Victoria breaks 55-year-old weather record as temperatures plummet

Environment Canada warns people going outside to take proper precautions against the cold.

“Frostbite and hypothermia can occur within minutes if adequate precautions are not taken when outdoors. Any skin exposure will result in frostbite,” the notice from Environment Canada says.

“If outside, dress warmly in layers and stay dry. Cover as much exposed skin as possible to avoid frostbite.”

Nanoose Bay to Fanny Bay is expected to receive a significant amount of snow, though the exact amounts have not yet been determined.

The City of Victoria opened an emergency warming centre to support the province’s extreme weather response amid freezing temperatures in Victoria.

A warming centre is now open at the Cook Street Village Activity Centre, 380 Cook St., and is open during the day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and overnight from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. according to Tanya Seal-Jones, City of Victoria emergency program coodinator.

“When there is emergency weather conditions in effect, and all other resources have been used up – so the other extreme weather resource shelters, and overnight shelters, seasonal shelters – when they no longer have any space left, they can contact the city and we’ll activate the warming centre to make sure no one is turned away,” Seal-Jones said.

The city’s warming centre will remain open while the extreme weather response and exposure risks are active, and primary shelters and warming centres are at capacity.

Below are updates on road conditions, transportation, public schools and post-secondary schools.

Highways and roads

Drive BC says highways around the province have adverse conditions and drivers are asked to use caution.

Highways on the South Island are impacted by snow on the roads.

Emcon warns on Highway 14 that there have been vehicles abandoned between Glinz Lake Rd and Harbourview Rd with several left close to the travel portion of the road.

The highway contractor for the mid and north Island also advised of adverse conditions on highways, and that crews would be out maintaining the roads.

Ferries and public transit

Most BC Transit routes in Victoria are operating normally, but there are detours for some routes due to road conditions.

Route 57 is not servicing Gourman/Goldie Loop, Route 61 is not servicing Pyrite Hill, and Route 64 is not servicing Sunriver Way or Becher Bay.

The Cowichan Valley system is warning of route changes due to the weather, and advises people to check the Cowichan Valley Regional Transit Rider’s Guide for detours.

The Nanaimo system will post detours and updates on its transit page, which can be found here.

On Salt Spring Island, Route 1 will not service Atkins Road, Route 2 will not service the Burgoyne Bay triangle, Route 3 will not service Mobrae Avenue, Elizabeth Drive, or Chu-An Drive, and Route 5 and 6 will end at Fernwood Elementary School, not servicing Walker’s Hook, Maliview Drive, Stark’s Road, or Robinson Road Bay.

Transit in Campbell River and the Comox Valley remains suspended due to the ongoing strikes.

BC Ferries has cancelled sailings or has them at risk of cancellations to Sturdies Bay due to being unable to dock due to the weather conditions.

Public school status

Schools across the Island remain open despite the weather, but buses in some districts are seeing cancellations.

The Sooke School District has had a number of bus cancellations on Friday morning.

All Greater Victoria School District schools are open on Friday.

On its website, the Saanich School District says all schools are open and buses are running.

The Nanaimo Ladysmith School District has all classes and buses running, but buses will use winter route stops.

The Qualicum School District says schools are open, but buses in the Nanoose Bay area are cancelled.

The Vancouver Island North School District says it will update on its Facebook page if there are any closures, and as of 7:30 a.m. no updates had been posted.

Similarly, nothing had been posted by the Vancouver Island West School District, Campbell River School District, Comox Valley School District, Pacific Rim School District, Cowichan Valley School District and Gulf Island School District.

Post-secondary schools

Royal Roads University is open on Jan. 12.

Camosun College campuses are both open.

The University of Victoria, Vancouver Island University and North Island College had not provided an update by 8 a.m.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham
Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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