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Historically low temperatures coming to much of B.C. as winter chill sets in

B.C. weekend weather forecast Jan. 11-12
Global BC weather specialist Kasia Bodurka breaks down the weather warnings for B.C. this weekend, including snow and wind for Metro Vancouver and bitter cold for the rest of the province.

It’s going to get very cold across much of B.C. this weekend, with Environment Canada warning temperatures will “plummet to values not seen in years.”

The weather agency issued a special weather statement for much of southern B.C. Saturday, stretching from the Fraser Canyon through the Okanagan, Thompson and Shuswap regions to the B.C.-Alberta border.

Areas farther north including the Cariboo, Chilcotin, Yellowhead and Bulkley Valley regions are also included in the statement.

By Sunday, many of those special statements had been upgraded to extreme cold warnings.

READ MORE: Ferries cancelled amid high winds as Metro Vancouver braces for another 15 cm of snow

Environment Canada says strong winds will push temperatures down to between minus 30 and minus 40 degrees Celsius for the central interior by Sunday morning

By Monday morning, similar temperatures will be seen in the Columbias and southwest interior, forecasters say.

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The Okanagan is also expecting more snow throughout the weekend, with two to four centimetres expected Saturday and another five centimetres forecast for Saturday night.

Five centimetres of snow is also expected to fall in the valley on Sunday.

Extreme cold warning

For northern areas including Fort Nelson, Dease Lake, the B.C. Peace River and Prince George, the cold will be even worse.

Extreme cold warnings are in place for those areas and others nearby, with forecasters saying winds as high as 40 km/h will bring temperatures down near -40 C by Saturday night.

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In the far north, residents are being told to prepare for conditions as low as -45 C with the wind chill.

Winter storm causes problems in Metro Vancouver
Winter storm causes problems in Metro Vancouver

Arctic outflow warnings have been issued for coastal and inland sections of the north and central coasts, with those areas expected to see wind chills at least -20 C below freezing by Saturday night.

Those coastal conditions will likely last “well into next week,” according to Environment Canada.

Winter storm hits highway

Finally, Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for Highway 3 between the Paulson Summit and Kootenay Pass in southern B.C.

The agency says bands of snow will bring 10 to 15 centimetres to the stretch by Saturday evening.

While the snow will ease off overnight, a more significant weather system arriving Sunday will bring an additional 15 to 25 centimetres of snow.

READ MORE: Okanagan bracing for bitter cold

Drivers are being warned to “consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve,” with visibility set to be impacted.

Crews are doing avalanche control work on the highway at the Kootenay Pass Saturday afternoon, closing the road down until the early evening..

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Full information about road closures and conditions can be found on Drive BC.

You can find all of Environment Canada’s public weather statements for B.C. here.

B.C. evening weather forecast: Jan 10
B.C. evening weather forecast: Jan 10