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B.C. copes with snow, deep freeze

Accidents reported in Victoria after heavy snow falls Monday
Accidents reported in Victoria after heavy snow falls Monday

Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

November 23, 2010 — An early blast of winter has led to power outages, cancellations and accidents in British Columbia this week. Cities are also plunging into a deep freeze.

Temperatures are plunging across western Canada
Temperatures are plunging across western Canada

B.C.'s lower mainland and Vancouver Island got a snowy surprise over the weekend, and it was accompanied by a bitterly cold blast of arctic air.

Temperatures have plunged below the freezing mark right across the province. In many cases, cities are experiencing daytime highs more than 10 degrees below normal for this time of year. And with the bone-chilling conditions set to stick around, residents are being encouraged to dress warmly and exercise caution.

“There's an Arctic high pressure system in the north of B.C. and we have a large dip in the jet stream and that is pushing in cold temperatures into southern B.C., which normally doesn't get so cold,”, says Dayna Vettese, a meteorologist here at The Weather Network.

The coldest Vancouver has ever dropped to is -14.3°C in 1985 when it stayed in the freezing zone for 13 straight days. The freezing temperatures this time around however, aren't expected to last as long.

“Later in the week the pattern will break and temperatures should be closer to seasonal,” says Vettese.

Some have made the most of the cold, snowy conditions!
Some have made the most of the cold, snowy conditions!

On Monday, strong winds knocked out power to more than 20,000 homes in the Fraser Valley, including Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Langley.

Meanwhile, another blast of winter on Monday brought more snow to Victoria. The conditions were bad enough to shut down some ferry routes between the islands. Schools were closed and buses were cancelled The city urged drivers to stay off the roads so that they could get them cleared. Police in Saanich received so many calls that they had to ask residents to stop calling 911 about the snow conditions.

While it's looking and feeling like winter in parts of BC, it's even colder across the Prairies. Daytime highs are sitting in the minus 20's, and windchills are making it feel closer to minus 40.

To stay up-to-date on the weather in your area, head to our Canadian Cities Index. You can also tune into The Weather Network on TV. The National Forecast come sup at the top and bottom of each hour.

With files from Beverley Ann D'Cruz and Andrea Stockton

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