Frigid temperatures ease, but snow, freezing rain, floods bring new risks to B.C.

Frigid temperatures ease, but snow, freezing rain, floods bring new risks to B.C.
A motorist with snow on their car drives in Richmond, B.C., on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022.

A near weeklong swath of extreme cold warnings is slowly being lifted across British Columbia, but as frigid conditions ease, new risks arrive in the form of freezing rain, rain and potential flooding.

Environment Canada is maintaining extreme cold warnings for parts of northern and southeastern B.C., where wind-chill values range from minus 35 to nearly minus 50.

Elsewhere, snow blankets most areas and snowfall or winter storm warnings are up for much of the lower two-thirds of B.C., with snow accumulations of five to 20 centimetres or more, depending on the region.

The weather office also forecasts ice pellets or freezing rain for much of the south coast, including Greater Victoria and Metro Vancouver, as a layer of above-freezing temperatures forms on top of the current arctic air mass.

It says those conditions could lead to ice accumulations of up to five millimetres around Victoria and the southern Gulf Islands, and as much as 25 millimetres in the Fraser Valley before heavy rain drenches much of the south coast, raising the potential for flooding as snow and ice clog storm drains.

The freezing rain has prompted advisories for travellers to stay off roads, including mountain passes to the Interior, while WestJet and Air Canada have cancelled dozens of flights, many BC Ferries sailings have been scrubbed and no buses were moving in Greater Victoria to start the day.

All scheduled WestJet flights in and out of Vancouver International and four regional airports, including Victoria, Nanaimo, Comox and Abbotsford, have been scrubbed until Friday afternoon, weather dependent.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 23, 2022.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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