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Bridges closed, flights suspended across southwest B.C. as winter storm transitions to rain

Bridges closed, flights suspended across southwest B.C. as winter storm transitions to rain

A second vital winter storm swept by means of southern B.C. on Friday, prompting cancellations, suspensions and delays throughout bus companies, ferry sailings and flights, with freezing rain inflicting havoc throughout the area.

Nonetheless, warming temperatures supplied forecasters with optimism that rain may wash away most of the delays in time for Dec. 24 and 25.

“However the place chilly air has a more durable time clearing out — specifically the Fraser Valley — it could keep under freezing at floor stage till Saturday morning which suggests the danger of freezing rain all evening,” mentioned CBC Information meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe. 

As well as, a visitors advisory was issued by the Ministry of Transportation for Freeway 3 from Hope to Princeton as a result of danger from heavy snowfall blended with freezing rain, and drivers have been additionally warned of “reasonable to excessive avalanche danger” on Freeway 1 by means of the Fraser Canyon.

B.C. Ferries cancelled the primary round-trips on plenty of routes Friday morning, together with ones connecting Metro Vancouver to Victoria, Nanaimo, the Sunshine Coast and the Southern Gulf Islands, with a number of cancellations all through the afternoon as effectively.   

Drivers are pictured after a crash on the Alex Fraser Bridge throughout a interval of freezing rain in Surrey on Friday. The bridge over the Fraser River was closed early Friday morning. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

TransLink requested prospects to keep away from travelling on Friday, and was compelled to droop service on the Expo Line for hours within the afternoon.

Two main bridges linking municipalities in Metro Vancouver — the Alex Fraser Bridge and Port Mann Bridge over the Fraser River — closed early Friday, and remained so by means of rush hour. 

B.C. Transit had cancelled bus companies in Victoria Friday morning, however slowly started reopening some routes within the afternoon. 

All transit companies within the Fraser Valley — a area about an hour’s drive east of Vancouver — have been suspended till “additional discover,” in line with the B.C. Transit web site.

Freezing rain may final 36 hours

Predictions by Atmosphere Canada of heavy snow, ice pellets and freezing rain in Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley beginning Thursday evening by means of Christmas Eve proved correct, with round 10 centimetres of snow for a lot of the area on Thursday night and Friday morning, adopted by freezing rain.

B.C. Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall mentioned the snow meant the ferry operator couldn’t guarantee sufficient workers have been accessible to workers a number of morning journeys throughout a wide range of routes, which needed to be cancelled. 

“After we have a look at the roadways, not solely our prospects having difficulties accessing the terminals, so do our workers,” she mentioned.

“We’re actually happy the climate is beginning to elevate and we will get our service up and going once more.”

Nonetheless, the scenario was much less optimistic for transit companies in Metro Vancouver, the place ice buildup on SkyTrain traces precipitated the suspension of service on the Expo Line for a number of hours within the afternoon, vital delays on the Millennium Line, and closure of the Canada Line between Bridgeport and Richmond-Brighouse stations for a time. 

“We’re organising bus bridges wherever we will,” mentioned TransLink spokesperson Thor Diakow.

Luggage and bags are pictured at YVR International Airport after multiple delays due to weather in Richmond, British Columbia on Wednesday December 21, 2022.
Baggage and luggage are pictured at YVR on Dec. 21 after a number of delays as a consequence of climate. WestJet has cancelled all flights into and out of Vancouver Worldwide Airport till the afternoon of Dec. 23. It’s additionally cancelled flights at airports in Victoria, Nanaimo, Abbotsford and Comox (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The Expo Line was reopened between Waterfront and Scott Street Station by 4 p.m., whereas Braid and Sapperton stations have been reopened after 9 p.m. The Millennium Line continued to expertise heavy delays into the night with no service between Lougheed and Burquitlam stations as a consequence of ice buildup within the guideway.

“We’re simply mainly asking for endurance from folks as we work to revive service,” mentioned Diakow.

“It’s been every week of inclement climate, and the freezing rain isn’t best to the SkyTrain scenario.”

Journey advisories posted for highways

The transition from snow to rain may have a big influence on highway and sidewalk circumstances, whereas ice buildup may result in tree branches breaking, Atmosphere Canada predicted.

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Rob Fleming mentioned journey by highway on Vancouver Island, the South Coast, or to and from the Inside needs to be prevented “except completely crucial.”

WATCH | Minister advises in opposition to most journey: 

bridges closed flights suspended across southwest b c as winter storm transitions to rain 2

‘Journey provided that crucial’: B.C. emergency administration minister

Bowinn Ma advises drivers within the Fraser Valley and on Vancouver Island to remain off the roads as heavy snow adopted by freezing rain will trigger harmful circumstances.

Most main highways in B.C. had journey advisories or closures on Friday, with drivers advised to count on quickly deteriorating circumstances.

Wagstaffe mentioned localized flooding could possibly be a priority as temperatures heat from Friday to Saturday.

“We must always all be within the clear by Christmas Day,” she mentioned, “even when it’s a soggy one!”

Dozens of flight cancellations

Vancouver Worldwide Airport was at a digital standstill Friday with only a few flights working and lots of cancelled all through the day.

WestJet cancelled all flights arriving and departing from the Vancouver airport from 11:50 p.m. PT Thursday till Friday night at 5:50 p.m., depending on climate circumstances.

As well as, the airline cancelled flights at airports in Victoria, Nanaimo, Abbotsford and Comox, it mentioned in an emailed assertion on Thursday. Air Canada additionally cancelled dozens of flights on the Vancouver airport Friday.