Snowstorm headed for Vancouver Island as frigid B.C. weather continues

Winter storm conditions are expected for much of Vancouver Island on Friday, according to Environment Canada, with heavy overnight snow forecast for a key stretch of Highway 1.

Up to 25 centimetres of fresh snow is possible on the Malahat Highway from Goldstream to Mill Bay as a storm system collides with freezing Arctic air over the Island. Snow is expected to begin around midnight and continue until Saturday evening.

Visibility could drop to zero in the heavy, blowing snow, says Armel Castellan, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

“We have the moisture feeds, the cold, everything is there — including the wind — to keep things extra spicy for an early, wintry start to the weekend,” he said.

Castellan said Nanaimo, the Cowichan Valley, Greater Victoria, Sooke and Port Renfrew will be hardest hit.

Inland and western portions of Vancouver Island are on winter storm watch, as are the Gulf Islands.

On the mainland, extreme cold warnings remain in effect through northern and central B.C. Wind chill could make temperatures Friday morning feel as low as –45 C in some areas.

A woman died of exposure earlier this week after temperatures hit similar lows in Dawson Creek, B.C. Service providers throughout the north have been scrambling to get homeless people indoors.

Weather records broken

Arctic outflow warnings are also still in place for Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Howe Sound and Whistler. Wind chill values in those areas could be as low as –20 C on Friday, the weather agency said.

Freezing weather has gripped B.C. all week, breaking temperature records on Thursday. Temperatures dropped to –13.3 C in Hope, B.C., beating the old record set in 1939 by more than 2 C.

Squamish hit –7.9 C, breaking the 1989 record of –6 C.

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