Snow grounds flights in Victoria and more is in the forecast

Snow grounds flights in Victoria and more is in the forecast
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WATCH: The winter storm grounded flights in Victoria and Vancouver on Tuesday and more snow is in the forecast ? just in time for one of the busiest travel days of the year. Tess van Straaten reports.

It was slow going on the Malahat Tuesday morning as heavy, wet snow made for some difficult driving conditions.

Snowplows started early, trying to clear the mushy mess and keep the highway safe.

“It can be treacherous but obviously Mainload’s job is to try and keep it as clear as possible but weather conditions do change drastically so it can change from wet snow to icy conditions,” says Stuart Eaton of Mainroad Contracting.

The wild weather also knocked out power to Victoria International Airport, which stayed operational under emergency backup power.

But more than a dozen flights were grounded or delayed due weather conditions on the mainland.

“Our crews were actively keeping our main runway serviceable and letting the flights land and take off but we know other airports in the area are still being impacted,” says Ken Gallent, operations director for the Victoria International Airport.

Harbour Air flights also weren’t flying due to poor visibility in Vancouver and Richmond as a result of the strong storm system.

“The centre of this lower pressure system is riding the border between B.C. and Washington state so that means we’re on the north side of the storm and that’s the cold side, which is why we’re seeing snow,” explains Environment Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan.

As expected, some parts of Greater Victoria had no snow while other areas were buried under more than 20 cm of snow and with unstable arctic air moving in Thursday, there’s a chance it could happen again.

“Some people might get accumulating snow again and it will be very intense fall-rate while other places just a few kilometres down may see nothing so again, very touch-and-go very localized.”

And while the snowfall’s not expected to be significant on Thursday, it’s forecast to hit on one of the busiest travel days of the year, which has airport staff working on contingency plans.

“It looks like we might be in for a few interesting couple of days weather wise and leading into the high traffic holiday season,” Gallant says.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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