First major blast of winter hits Metro Vancouver region

The first major blast of winter has hit the Metro Vancouver region Sunday. Residents throughout Vancouver woke up to several centimetres of snow and a snowfall warning of more powder on the way.

Environment Canada issues snowfall warning

“The low pressure system continues its trek across the South Coast this afternoon,” read the warning issued by Environment Canada on Sunday around 12:40 p.m.

“In the wake of the low, northeast outflow winds will collide with northwest winds from the Strait of Georgia. Where they meet, a localized band of heavy snow will develop and push through Metro Vancouver this evening for further localized accumulations of five centimetres.

West and North Vancouver and Coquitlam, which are at higher elevations, will continue to see a further five centimetres possible, while Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster will see rain mixed with wet snow. Richmond, Delta, Tsawwassen and Ladner will continue to see rain today.

Highway 1 closure

As of 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, the highway has been closed between Chilliwack and Hope in both directions due to “extreme winter conditions.”

Power outages sprinkled across region due to snow conditions

Sunday morning also saw a number of power outages spread across the region due to snow conditions or trees falling on wires. About 3,528 customers were affected in the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast around 10 a.m. on Sunday, but that number was down to 2013 as of 3 p.m.

At least several outages on the South Coast were confirmed as a result of snow conditions or fallen trees.

Meanwhile, a number of outages on the north end of Vancouver Island had knocked out power to about 5,293 customers in the afternoon. The cause of those outages remained under investigation.

B.C. Ferries cancel sailings

B.C. Ferries also cancelled the majority of its sailings Sunday due to adverse weather conditions and high winds, including sailings between the Tsawwassen terminal and Victoria and Nanaimo, as well as from the Horseshoe Bay terminal and Nanaimo and the Sunshine Coast.

Later in the afternoon, B.C. Ferries also cancelled sailings between Port McNeill, Alert Bay and Sointula, along with all remaining sailings between Tsawwassen and the southern Gulf Islands.

The following B.C. Ferries sailings have been cancelled Sunday:

Tsawwassen (Vancouver) — Swartz Bay (Victoria)
• Departing Tsawwassen — 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m.
• Departing Swartz Bay — 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m.

Tsawwassen (Vancouver) — Duke Point ​(Nanaimo) 
• Departing ​Tsawwassen — 10:15 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 3:15 p.m., 5:45 p.m.
• Departing Duke Point — 10:15 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 3:15 p.m., 5:45 p.m.

Horseshoe Bay (Vancouver) — Departure Bay ​(Nanaimo)
• Departing Departure Bay — 10:40 a.m., 1 p.m., 3:20 p.m., 5:55 p.m.
• Departing Horseshoe — 10:40 a.m., 1 p.m., 3:45 p.m., 6:35 p.m.

Horseshoe Bay (Vancouver) — Langdale ​(Sunshine Coast) 
• Departing ​Horseshoe Bay — 5:30 p.m., 7:50 p.m.
• Departing ​Langdale — 6:40 p.m., 8:55 p.m.

Port McNeill — Alert Bay — Sointula
• Departing Alert Bay — 12:20 p.m.
• Departing Port McNeil — 1:10 p.m., 2:20 p.m.
• Departing Sointula — 1:45 p.m.

Tsawwassen — Southern Gulf Islands
• All sailings for the rest of the day

TransLink buses detoured due to road conditions

Meanwhile, some TransLink routes have been detoured due to road conditions Sunday morning. Those included the R1 Newton Exchange and R1 Guildford Exchange, the 10 Downtown and the R5 Burrard Station/SFU. Shuttles have been put in place for the R1 and R5, while the 10 is detouring.

“We continue to salt and sand bus loops and SkyTrain stations, but please use caution in these areas and remember to dress warmly in anticipation of potential delays,” read an alert posted to the TransLink website.

Additional warming centres opened Sunday

The city of Vancouver also opened additional warming centres Sunday through Wednesday. The centres allow anyone and everyone, along with carts and pets. Those with their bedding are also welcome to sleep at the centres, and hot drinks and snacks will be provided.

Warming centres located at Britannia Community Centre and the Overdose Prevention Society opened Sunday and will remain so until Wednesday, while the Vancouver Aquatic Centre warming centre will open Sunday and remain open until Tuesday.

The Powell Street Getaway warming centre will also remain open until at least Wednesday.

More to come …

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