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Snow, rain to ‘hammer’ southern B.C. on dark and stormy New Year’s Eve

Heavy rain soaks New Year’s Eve
A major storm is putting a damper on many New Year's Eve events, dumping significant amounts of rain on Metro Vancouver. Catherine Urquhart reports.

As British Columbians prepare to ring in 2020, they’ll be hunkering down amid heavy snow and rain in many southern parts of the province.

Environment Canada has issued dozens of rainfall and snowfall warnings for the west and central coast, through the Lower Mainland and Okanagan to the Kootenays and Columbia regions.

You can see a full and up-to-date list of Environment Canada weather warnings and alerts here.

READ MORE: Snowstorm expected to hammer B.C. Interior, prompting warnings and travel advisories

B.C. evening weather forecast: Dec 30
B.C. evening weather forecast: Dec 30

Heavy rain

In Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Howe Sound, the agency is warning of heavy rainfall, with accumulations of up to 60 mm.

By Tuesday morning, about 40 mm had already been recorded in Stanley Park, with 53 measured in the Upper Levels in West Vancouver.

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Localized flooding and washouts are possible, and people are being advised to stay away from rivers and creeks.

The rain is expected to ease into the evening, except in the central and eastern Fraser Valley, where it will continue into Tuesday night.

READ MORE: Highway between Peachland and Summerland reopens after collision

Snowstorms

Heavy snow is in the forecast for much of the Southern Interior, and is of particular concern in the mountain passes.

Environment Canada says the Coquihalla Summit could see up to 20 cm, while Highway 1 between Eagle Pass and Rogers Pass could see up to 25 cm.

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The Paulson Summit area in the Kootenays could see up to 30 cm of snow, the agency said.

Man buys A&W for truck drivers stranded by snow in B.C. interior
Man buys A&W for truck drivers stranded by snow in B.C. interior

Drivers are being reminded to prepare for poor visibility and rapidly-changing conditions.

“Consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve,” said Environment Canada.

“Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow.”

READ MORE: Okanagan Connector reopened after dangerous goods vehicle fire

Motorists should also have a full tank of gas and an emergency kit, including extra clothing, blankets, a shovel, ice scraper and snow chains.

The Okanagan Valley, Shuswap and North Thompson regions will also see a heavy dump of snow, with between 20 to 30 centimetres of accumulation, according to Environment Canada.

Winter storm dumps dangerous amounts of snow on B.C. highways
Winter storm dumps dangerous amounts of snow on B.C. highways

The warning comes after inclement weather knocked out power to more than 30,000 of customer in the North Okanagan and Shuswap overnight.

READ MORE: BC Hydro warning of possible overnight power outages

The hardest hit areas included Clearwater, Quesnel and rural areas outside Kamloops. You can see current outages here.

A strong winter storm also continues to “hammer” the Kootenays on Tuesday, according to Environment Canada, with accumulations of up to 25 centimetres of snow possible in the Arrow-Slocan area by Wednesday morning.

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Elk Lake, Fernie and Morrissey could see up to 25 centimetres of now.