It's wet and slushy in Vancouver

It's wet and slushy in Vancouver

Mother Nature isn't letting up on Metro Vancouver just yet, but this time she's soaking the region with rain.

Rain overnight and this morning left many streets flooded with water. Standing water on roads throughout Metro Vancouver could lead to buses having to re-route, TransLink spokesman Ken Hardie said in an e-mail. Routes in in Vancouver, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam have already been affected, he said.

"Temperatures are expected to hold near four degrees for most of the day with rain in most areas," Hardie said. "As a result, roads are expected to remain slushy and slippery, and 40-foot buses will be used in place of the longer articulated coaches, except on the #98 and #99 B-Lines."

Environment Canada meteorologist Mark Madryga said up to 40 millimetres of rain was forecast for Metro Vancouver overnight.

In the Fraser Valley, strong winds and up to 60 mm of rain were expected, while at inland sections of Vancouver Island the snow was expected to change to freezing rain this evening.

The heavy snowfall Friday morning created chaos on the roads, with many buses struggling to make up it the hills in Vancouver's West End, where the streets were icy underneath the new blanket of snow, TransLink spokesman Drew Snider said.

Others buses were delayed, stuck or are being rerouted. West Vancouver buses were on snow routes only, while TransLink replaced its articulated buses with 40-foot buses in higher elevations.

All buses were running on a Sunday schedule. "It's just getting really ugly," Snider said. "We're going to see spot delays. Once this all turns to rain then we have to watch for quick runoffs and melts."

The inclement weather prompted several Vancouver Canucks' ticket holders to try and sell their tickets for last night's sold-out game against the Edmonton Oilers.

And several flights were delayed - most of them by Air Canada - at Vancouver International Airport, where thousands of passengers were stranded, some of them for days, because of heavy snowfalls,

Spokeswoman Rebecca Catley said the two runways were open but passengers should get the website www.yvr.ca to ensure their flights are on schedule. There were a few cancellations and delays by regional carriers to Victoria, Edmonton and Calgary but most flights were getting out.

Catley added most of the stranded passengers either got flights on Christmas Day or decided not to travel after several planes, most of them belonging to Air Canada, were grounded.

The weather also caused several power failures in Metro Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast, where more than 399 customers were affected. More than 500 homes were also without power on Vancouver Island, according to BC Hydro.

Meanwhile, Madryga warned homeowners to be careful around their homes, where heavy snow will likely fall off in chunks from their roofs.

But don't think the snow is gone for good, Madryga warns. The mercury is expected to plunge to below freezing again on Sunday, bringing more snow to higher elevations such as upper Burnaby and Coquitlam early in the week, he said. A snowfall warning is also in effect for the southern Interior.

Earlier this week, the Canadian Avalanche Centre issued a special avalanche warning to recreational backcountry users in the South Coast and North Shore regions for Saturday to Monday.

The warning applies to areas of the South Coast Mountains from north of Pemberton to the U.S. border and west of Lillooet and the Coquihalla Pass to the Pacific Coast. It also includes backcountry areas of the North Shore Mountains from Horseshoe Bay to Indian Arm.

"The expected snowfalls in the region will overload an unusually weak early season snowpack," says James Floyer, CAC public avalanche forecaster.

"This rapid rise in avalanche danger will coincide with the holiday period, just as many backcountry enthusiasts are expected to flood into the backcountry to enjoy the new snow."

Avalanches may continue to plague the area into the New Year, due to weak layers buried in the snowpack. Conditions will be reassessed early next week and this warning may be extended if warranted.

For information, check www.avalanche.ca or 1-800-667-1105.

Meanwhile, thousands of people headed up to Grouse Mountain today after a major snowfall. Some 21 of the mountain's 26 runs were open, said spokesman Willam Mbaho.

Although no areas were closed for avalanche risks, he reminded skiers to "respect the signs we have posted" and any boundary markers. Staff are working around the clock to patrol all the areas on the mountain, he said.

Ā© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

 

Adam Knight

Adam Knight

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