Steep hills in Gibsons, B.C., became very slippery on Tuesday as snow pummeled the area, photographer Scott Blackley said.
© Scott Blackley
Steep hills in Gibsons, B.C., became very slippery on Tuesday as snow pummeled the area, photographer Scott Blackley said.
More than 30,000 people on B.C.'s South Coast were without power while a bridge connecting parts of Metro Vancouver was closed Tuesday night as snow continued to hit the region.

B.C. Hydro issued a notice advising residents on Hornby Island and Denman Island to prepare to be without power until Wednesday morning, as ferry cancellations means crews cannot get over to make repairs.

"We plan to have crews take the first available ferry in the morning," B.C. Hydro says on its website.

In an interview with CBC, spokesperson Mora Scott said most of the outages seem to be due to snow weighing down trees, and ultimately, taking out power lines.

The Alex Fraser Bridge in Metro Vancouver was also closed Tuesday night following a number of crashes.

A northbound lane opened later in the evening while southbound remained closed, DriveBC said, adding that motorists should expect delays in the area and consider alternate routes.

Snow began falling on B.C.'s South Coast Tuesday afternoon and, combined with high outflow winds in the forecast, could create hazardous driving conditions across much of southwestern B.C.

Up to 25 centimetres of snow is forecast for inland parts of Vancouver Island, with around five to 10 centimetres in southern areas, according to Environment Canada.

Strong southeast winds through the Strait of Georgia, gusting up to 90 km/h, are expected.

The Sunshine Coast is looking at 10 to 15 centimetres of snow with winds of up to 80 km/h.

Low-lying areas like Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Surrey and Langley can expect 10 to 15 centimetres of snow overnight.

Higher elevation areas like North Vancouver, Coquitlam and Maple Ridge could see up to 20 centimetres, while Richmond and Delta could expect five to 10 centimetres of snow.

Environment Canada also issued winter storm warnings for highway routes including the Sea to Sky, the Coquihalla and the Okanagan Connector, saying heavy snow and strong winds could create near-zero visibility at times.

As of 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, travel advisories were in effect for many of B.C.'s highways, according to DriveBC.

The snow is expected to taper off or switch to rain by Wednesday morning, potentially causing slippery roads and poor visibility.

Snow, strong winds through Wednesday

Yimei Li, a meteorologist with the federal weather agency, says snow will be accompanied Wednesday morning by strong winds with gusts ranging between 40 and 70 km/h, and recommends avoiding all non-essential travel Tuesday evening and Wednesday.

"If it changes from snow to rain the results will be quite messy. Tomorrow morning we're looking at some really high impact weather for the Lower Mainland," Li said.

"The best thing to do is stay at home or stay sheltered during this time. Travelling during a snowstorm is very dangerous," Li said.

Delays also expected on flights

Several flights leaving Vancouver and Abbotsford airports Tuesday and Wednesday have already been cancelled in anticipation of rough weather.

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) has asked travellers to leave extra time to get to the airport and check with airlines for updated flight information.

YVR warned of delays Tuesday night after an arriving EVA Air flight exited the runway while making its way to the gate, and got stuck in the grass adjacent to the north runway shortly before 7 p.m.

There were no reports of injuries, according to YVR. The airport did not state if weather was a factor in the incident.

The airport said the north runway is not available for arrivals and other flights may experience delays.