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Snowfall warning dropped for Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, but snow could still fall

End of ‘Snowmageddon’ in Metro Vancouver could lead to different problems
Now that the major snowfall and windstorm have blown through, concerns are now about new potential problems. Jill Bennett reports.

The worst of a snowstorm that battered the Lower Mainland has passed, but the region isn’t out of the woods yet.

Environment Canada issued new snowfall warnings for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Thursday, saying “bands of heavy snow” will move through the region Thursday afternoon with five to 10 centimetres of snow falling.

Those warnings — which also covered Surrey, Langley, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge and Abbotsford — were later recalled.

However, forecasters say up to 10 centimetres could still fall in some localized areas by Friday morning, with general areas getting between two and five centimetres.

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Most public schools around the region were open Thursday, though a number of independent schools cancelled classes.

Side streets in most Lower Mainland municipalities remained snow-covered and messy. Main routes were mostly clear, but drivers were being warned the commute could still be challenging, particularly south of the Fraser and in the Fraser Valley.

B.C. morning weather forecast: Jan 16
B.C. morning weather forecast: Jan 16

The concern in many areas now shifts to flooding, with warmer temperatures expected to begin melting snow.

“We have the concern for flooding, we’ll likely have that concern into the weekend,” said Erin Watts, Vancouver’s manager of street operations Wednesday.

“Because we’ve got this snow, the snow is going to melt with the rains. If we have heavy rains we are expecting flooding.”

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The Ministry of Transportation did not end up shutting down the Port Mann and Alex Fraser bridges, despite warnings to commuters Wednesday that conditions could prompt closures.

The ministry issued a traffic advisory Thursday warning drivers to ensure they have snow tires and to slow down and drive for the conditions.

READ MORE: Winter driving 101: How to survive Metro Vancouver’s ‘snowmageddon’

The good, the bad and the ugly of a Metro Vancouver snow day
The good, the bad and the ugly of a Metro Vancouver snow day

Most weather warnings were lifted for the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast overnight.

However a blizzard warning remained in effect for Howe Sound Thursday morning, with winds of between 60 and 80 kilometres per hour forecast and five to 10 centimetres of snow possible. That warning was lifted later Thursday.

READ MORE: School closures for Thursday in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley

Strong winds overnight knocked power out to about 30,000 British Columbians at the peak of the storm overnight. Courtenay, Port Alberni, Ucluelet, Sechelt and Victoria were hardest hit.

The Crown corporation says most customers had their power restored by Thursday morning, but that crews would be working throughout the day to reconnect the rest.

Wind warnings follow major snowfall
Wind warnings follow major snowfall

“Milder air is squeezing in from the south this morning. Some temperatures are above freezing in Metro Vancouver, some are still below, so icy conditions in a number of areas,” said Global B.C. meteorologist Mark Madryga.

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READ MORE: Power outages, traffic and transit delays as new round of snow and wind hits Lower Mainland

“The Fraser Valley well below freezing this morning, still very windy in the eastern sections. As far as precipitation today, we’ll have showers of snow or mixed rain and snow come and go.”

Madryga said a band of rain and snow showers was shaping up over Metro Vancouver and could stay in place until mid day, with more possible later in the day.

TransLink said it had crews working overnight to “rectify various issues which impacted services” Wednesday, but it warned passengers that service would still remain slower than normal.

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“Customers should build in additional travel time,” said the agency. “Our advice is to check transit alerts before travelling.”

“There are some [bus] diversions in place and there is some rerouting going on as well, but bus service is ongoing for bus customers to check transit alerts just to make sure that your route is not affected,” said spokesperson Ben Murphy.

HandyDART remained at essential service levels only on Thursday due to slippery side streets.

Vancouver and B.C.’s South Coast continues to dig out after winter storm
Vancouver and B.C.’s South Coast continues to dig out after winter storm

BC Ferries cancelled 6:15 a.m. and 8:25 a.m. sailings in both directions between Horseshoe Bay and Departure (Nanaimo) due to adverse weather conditions.

The 6:15 a.m. and 8:05 a.m. sailings between Comox and Powell River were also cancelled.

Ferry travellers are advised to check the BC Ferries website before heading to the terminal.

The Vancouver Park Board also closed the Stanley Park seawall between Siwash Rock and the Lions Gate Bridge due to falling ice.

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