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‘Potentially dangerous’: Arctic front bringing icy winds, freezing rain to much of B.C.

Travel conditions expected to worsen in Fraser Valley as rain falls, roads ice over
B.C. pre-Christmas storm is expected to turn icy beginning Thursday (Dec. 22) as remaining snow hardens and freezing rain falls. (Sergey Gorbachev/ Pixabay)

It’s the storm that never ends for British Columbians.

What started as heavy snowfall earlier in the week, Environment Canada says is now turning into icy temperatures and possible freezing rain.

The weather agency says residents along the south coast will be hit particularly hard Thursday (Dec. 22). Wind chill values are forecast to drop to -20 to -30 C in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Greater Victoria and the Gulf Islands. This is expected to last into the night in the Lower Mainland, but only throughout the morning in Greater Victoria and the islands.

Environment Canada says these temperatures are about five to 10 degrees below seasonal normals.

The real concern for the Lower Mainland, though, is the potential for debilitating freezing rain. Matt MacDonald, the lead forecaster at BC Wildfire Service, says the combination of below freezing road temperatures and falling rain will make for roads of ice.

“In my 20 years of forecasting, I’ve rarely been so concerned about a weather forecast,” he wrote in a post to social media.

MacDonald predicts Thursday will still be okay for travel, but that things will be extremely dangerous by Friday and Saturday. He says the impacts will be felt worst in the Fraser Valley, and less so along coastal regions.

Elsewhere in the province, residents continue to be hit with abnormally cold temperatures. Much of the northern half of B.C., as well as its central and southern Interior are under Environment Canada extreme cold warnings.

In the Kootenays, Okanagan, Fraser Canyon, Thompson region, Nicola and Similkameen, Environment Canada says temperatures will drop to -35 C with the wind chill. Heading to the northern half of B.C., temperatures will go even lower to around -40 C with the wind chill.

In a tweet, Environment Canada warned that more heavy snow and freezing rain is expected throughout the province starting Friday.

“Travel will be challenging and potentially dangerous.”


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About the Author: Jane Skrypnek

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media.
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