Winter weather shuts schools in B.C. again after Vancouver’s snowiest day since 1996

Winter weather shuts schools in B.C. again after Vancouver's snowiest day since 1996
A person cycles past a road closed sign during a snowstorm in Vancouver Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024.

Another blast of winter weather hit southern British Columbia Thursday, a day after Vancouver saw its snowiest day in almost three decades, with schools shut for a second day and freezing rain on the way.

The fresh pummeling in B.C. came as Environment Canada issued warnings and advisories across the country, with snow squalls in Newfoundland and extreme cold in parts of Ontario, Quebec and the Prairies.

In B.C., forecasters said “a prolonged period of freezing rain” was due in the Fraser Valley and parts of Metro Vancouver, before rain on Friday.

“I would say that east of Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, Agassiz (and) Hope as well, the transition to freezing rain is expected but a little bit later the deeper you go into the Fraser Valley,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan. “The transition into rain will happen later as well.”

In Greater Victoria, a snowfall warning of accumulations up to 10 centimetres was issued Thursday, with freezing rain also possible overnight.

READ MORE: Weather alerts expanded for Vancouver Island, schools still open

Environment Canada said in a weather summary that the 28 centimetres reported at the Vancouver airport on Wednesday was the city’s snowiest day since 1996 when a record 41 centimetres fell on the city.

“It was a big event,” Castellan said of Wednesday’s snowstorm. “There was no snow beforehand, and there’s really little snow (Thursday).”

The snow upended many aspects of life in B.C.’s Lower Mainland, with all public schools in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley shutting for a second day Thursday while post-secondary institutions such as the University of B.C., Simon Fraser University and the B.C. Institute of Technology also cancelled in-person classes again.

Vancouver International Airport said around 20 outbound flights were cancelled Thursday and flight schedules could continue to be affected, a day after more than 30 were cancelled as crews worked to clear roughly nine kilometres of runway.

Canada Post said Thursday that efforts to resume deliveries started, but mail may not reach some addresses because of “ongoing icy conditions.”

“We encourage customers to clear the ice from their walkways, stairs, and driveways, to ensure safe access to the front door for both their visitors, as well as their mail carriers,” a statement from Canada Post said. It suspended mail delivery on Wednesday around Metro Vancouver due to the snow.

SEE ALSO: BC Transit warns of service impacts in Victoria due to snow

Volunteers reporting to Environment Canada on Wednesday said there was as much as 30 centimetres of snowfall in Burnaby, 31 centimetres in Port Coquitlam and 39 centimetres in Chilliwack.

Across Canada, extreme cold warnings for wind chill values around -40 were in place Thursday in northern Alberta and western Saskatchewan, as well as in a wide swath from the Manitoba border, across northern Ontario to the Quebec border in the east, into the Val-d’Or region.

Southern Ontario faced a smattering of snow squall warnings, while similar advisories covered almost all of Newfoundland on Thursday, and winter storm warnings covered part of the Labrador coast.

Environment Canada said parts of Newfoundland will be hit with between 20 and 50 centimetres of snow, while wind gusts nearing 100 kilometres per hour were expected to blow through the northwestern area of the island lasting into Friday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2024.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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