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Lower Mainland blanketed in white as 15-20 cm of snow falls across the region

Click to play video: 'Lower Mainland blanketed in overnight snow fall' Lower Mainland blanketed in overnight snow fall
WATCH: Snow blankets Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley – Dec 30, 2021

Lower Mainland residents awoke to a thick blanket of fluffy snow on Thursday, much to the delight of tobogganers and the chagrin of commuters.

“From late last evening here in the Vancouver area, until about 6, 6:30 a.m. this morning, we saw 15-20 cm in snow — a little more in pockets,” said Global BC meteorologist Mark Madryga.

Higher elevation areas in the North Shore, Coquitlam and Guildford in Surrey were particularly hard hit, and drivers reported difficult conditions across the region.

Read more: Snowfall added to list of B.C. weather warnings as extreme cold persists

Police were called to a major crash overnight in Surrey on 176th Street near 97th Avenue, where a vehicle lost control in the bad weather, and was subsequently hit by another vehicle, leaving one person in hospital. Several other vehicles also lost control on the hill.

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Vancouver manager of street operations Amy Sidwell said crews were brining streets in anticipation of the snow, but that more precipitation fell than the five to 10 cm the city had expected.

Crews were working at full capacity to clear key streets, she said.

“Our level one priority routes are our major street network in the city, so arterial and collector streets, that covers all of our bus routes, emergency evacuation routes, emergency vehicle routes, and our routes around hospitals and care facilities … and then we’ve also got other priorities around pedestrian pathways and bikeways,” she said.

“With this volume of snow it takes a bit longer to do the clearing, because there is a fair bit.”

The Expo and Millennium SkyTrain lines were operating more slowly than usual due to the snow. However, the Canada Line was unaffected.

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TransLink also warned of detours and delays across “much of” the bus system. Riders were urged to dress warmly and anticipate delays, and to also check TransLink’s Twitter account or its Next Bus website for updated information.

Canada Post said it was cancelling mail delivery for the day to the Lower Mainland, Nanaimo, southern Vancouver Island, Powell River and the Sunshine Coast due to heavy snow.

Organizers of the Festival of Lights at Vancouver’s VanDusen Garden also cancelled Thursday night’s event, citing “unsafe road conditions.”

City of Vancouver officials said that garbage collection would be temporarily suspended on Thursday and Friday due to icy conditions on side streets and lanes, and because sanitation crews were helping with snow clearing. Green bin collection was also suspended.

The City of Surrey also suspended waste collection on Thursday only.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver struggles through second snowfall of holiday season' Vancouver struggles through second snowfall of holiday season
Vancouver struggles through second snowfall of holiday season – Dec 30, 2021

Snowfall and arctic outflow warnings for Metro Vancouver were lifted on Thursday, and Madryga said the forecast for Thursday and Friday called for clear, but cold conditions.

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The eastern Fraser Valley remained under an arctic outflow warning, with wind chill values forecast to reach -20 C or below.

Read more: British Columbians urged to check in on seniors as arctic air mass approaches

“Frostbite and hypothermia can occur within minutes if adequate precautions are not taken when outdoors. Any outdoor activity exposes you to an increased risk of frostbite,” warned Environment Canada.

“Minimize exposed skin with hats, scarves and mittens or gloves. Anyone who is not dressed warmly is at risk of frostbite and hypothermia in cold weather.”

Madryga said snow was forecast to return on Saturday, but that temperatures were expected to warm significantly into Sunday with the possibility of heavy rain.

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