Tuesday was another cold day in Metro Vancouver and elsewhere in British Columbia.
Environment Canada has issued another snowfall warning for Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, and most of Vancouver Island.
“Prepare for quickly changing and deteriorating travel conditions,” said the agency.
“Rapidly accumulating snow could make travel difficult over some locations. There may be a significant impact on rush hour traffic in urban areas.”
Global BC senior meteorologist Kristi Gordon says the snow is expected to develop Tuesday evening and continue through at least part of the morning commute.
“There will likely be a brief lull in the action late morning-midday Wednesday before another wave of snow develops in the afternoon,” she said.
The island is expected to bear the brunt of this weather system, with 5-15 cm of snow by late Wednesday morning. But significant snowfall amounts of 5-10 cm are also expected across Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, Gordon added.
“The next big issue we are tracking is the potential for extremely strong winds Wednesday evening,” Gordon added.
“There is still some uncertainty in this wind forecast but our models are showing possible gusts to 80 km/h for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, with gusts to 100 km/h through the Strait of Georgia. The ingredients are there for a potentially storm night with power outages and ferry delays.”
Environment Canada is forecasting 10 to 15 centimetres by Wednesday morning, though amounts may vary significantly depending on geography.
TransLink and HandyDART buses were operating as usual Tuesday morning, however many commuters reported extremely busy conditions at transit stops and SkyTrain stations.
Frigid weather and ice combined to create chaotic scenes on Metro Vancouver roads and Highway 1 Tuesday morning, including a semi truck that jackknifed at the Sprott overpass.
Rain ahead of the deep freeze contributed to many side streets icing over in the City of Vancouver, and forcing the closure of some steeper routes.
The BC Trucking Association complained Tuesday about treacherous conditions on Highway 1, with president Dave Earle telling Global News he was seeking a meeting with the province over the issue.
“Nobody’s more frustrated than we are with the conditions we’re dealing with certainly,” Earle said.
“We have meetings set up imminently to talk and discuss what maintenance processes were in place, what steps were taken and the service levels in place with the contractor to make sure that our members and everybody can operate safely on the roads.”
Mainroad Contracting, which is contracted to keep the freeway clear, referred questions to the Ministry of Transportation.
In a statement, the Ministry of Transportation said crews have been “out in full force” plowing and applying salt and brine.
“In the Fraser Valley, the high outflow winds combined with cold and dry temperatures (- 12 this morning) are making it challenging to keep material on the road and deal with the snow that has compacted onto the road,” said the ministry.
“The ministry’s maintenance contractor for this service area had their entire fleet out working this morning, and will continue to do so throughout the day as well as overnight.”
It said crews have also begun to mix salt with sand and use de-icing chemicals to better deal with the colder temperatures.
The City of Vancouver said it is running salt and brine trucks 24 hours a day, with the focus on priority routes, bridges, hospital routes and the city’s 15 most-used bike routes.
“Side streets will not be plowed as we focus on these critical routes,” it said.
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said Tuesday that he was satisfied with the efforts of city crews.
“I think we are very prepared,” he said. “Of course people are going to be frustrated, we’re not a snow city. We get snow for a week, it’s going to be inconvenient.”
Stewart said bylaw officers and other staff have been pulled to assist in the snow efforts.
Green bin service has also been cancelled all week to free up staff for snow removal.
Two schools were closed in Abbotsford. Chilliwack schools remained open, but there will be no school buses because of icy roads.
Camosun College on Vancouver Island said it was closing at 4 p.m. due to adverse weather.
The City of Vancouver says a number of warming shelters will be open.
The City of Surrey has also opened nine extreme weather shelters.
People in need of shelter can find out more by calling 211.
Elsewhere in B.C., extreme cold warnings are in effect across the province, including 100 Mile, Atlin, B.C., Peace River, Bulkley Valley and the Lakes District, Cariboo, Cassiar Mountains, Chilcotin, Dease Lake, Elk Valley, Fort Nelson, Haines Road, Kinbasket, McGregor, Muncho Lake Park-Stone Mountain Park, North Columbia, Prince George, South Klondike Highway, Stuart-Nechako, Teslin, Watson Lake, Williston, Yellowhead and Yoho Park-Kootenay Park.
Another weather system is set to hit the region Wednesday night, although a “fair degree of uncertainty exists regarding its impact upon the south coast,” according to Environment Canada.
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