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BC buried under heavy snow

Heavy snow blankets parts of B.C. Click on the photo for a look at the stormy conditions
Heavy snow blankets parts of B.C. Click on the photo for a look at the stormy conditions

Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

January 12, 2011 — Heavy snow blanketed parts of Vancouver Island, BC's Coastal Mountains and the Lower Mainland Tuesday and Wednesday. Now, many communities have switched over to rain.

Additional snowfall expected through Thursday
Additional snowfall expected through Thursday

A low pressure system rolled off the Pacific ocean late Tuesday, and before long it was dumping heavy snow on parts of Vancouver Island, Metro Vancouver and the Coastal Mountains.

Vancouver and Abbotsford both recorded 12 cm of snow, while 14 cm managed to pile up in Victoria. Via Rail was forced to cancel trains between Victoria and Courtenay because of the poor conditions.

There were also reports of slick roads and power outages in the area. Wednesday morning, BC Hydro said that about 40,000 customers province-wide were without electricity. Some schools even closed their doors in places like Chilliwack, Mission and Abbotsford due to the heavy snow.

Snow is still falling in some parts of the province, but in most cities the snow has made the transition over to rain. Warming temperatures means the snow likely won't be sticking around for long.

“Wednesday afternoon we started to see some mixing between rain and snow. By Wednesday night it should be raining and that will continue into Thursday. Most of the snow on the ground could be gone by Thursday afternoon,” says Brian Dillon, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

Avalanche risk in British Columbia
Avalanche risk in British Columbia

With the rapid change in temperatures and heavy rainfall, Dillon says localized flooding could occur in some areas.

Although Vancouver was able to avoid snow last week, the city did see up to 60 mm of rain. Cold temperatures turned the rain to ice in Stanley Park, where the seawall was closed because of the threat of falling ice.

Avalanche conditions around the area have also been dangerous. The Canadian Avalanche Centre's first Special Public Avalanche Warning of the year was issued last Friday because the threat was high. On Monday, the risk was lowered to considerable, but the heavy snow has since pushed the risk back up to high.

To stay up-to-date on current weather conditions in the province, click our British Columbia Cities Index. You can also receive updates to your cell phone, which could help keep you prepared throughout the stormy weather.

With files from Matt Casey, Lisa Varano and Andrea Stockton

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