Skip to content

Cancellations at YVR airport, BC Ferries as heavy snow and extreme cold blankets B.C.

A B.C.-wide storm has offered up a snowy holiday – but wreaking havoc on travel in the meantime
Temperature are dropping to dangerously cold extremes in some regions of British Columbia as snowfall send tires spinning in parts of Metro Vancouver. Environment Canada says wind chill values are dropping near -40 C or colder in the Chilcotin, Cariboo, Prince George and other central B.C. communities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

As snow, extreme cold and high winds wreak havoc on B.C., major roadways — and transportation around and out of the province — are being greatly impacted.

Heavy snow blanketed much of the region overnight Tuesday (Dec. 20), covering parts of southern Vancouver Island under about 25 centimetres. Metro Vancouver is coping with as much as 15 centimetres.

As of Tuesday morning, all incoming flights into Vancouver International Airport were cancelled. A number of flights leaving YVR have seen major delays or cancellations.

Ferry sailings have also been cancelled due to the blizzard-like and freezing conditions.

In a statement Monday night, the province said that maintenance contractors are “out in full force and are ready to manage any accumulations of snow.”

Contractors are increasing the use of sand to provide better traction, as well.

“It is important for drivers to keep their distance as sand is applied and to not pass winter maintenance equipment,” the province said.

“Drivers who must travel should maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead.”

Meanwhile, Interior B.C. is seeing a deep freeze. This includes a low of -46.8 C west of Williams Lane, while the Quesnel area broke a record set 78 years ago when it reached a low of -37.5 C.

The province is under varying snow storm warnings, with the exception of the south Thompson, Shuswap and Slocan Lake areas.

All highways in the province are being impacted by heavy snow.

College closes

On Tuesday, North Island College closed the Comox Valley campus in Courtenay, as well as its Port Alberni and Campbell River locations.

The Comox Valley Regional Transit system expects delays due to recent snowfall. BC Transit asks commuters to allow more time for their journey. If heading out, transit travel tips include:

•If your bus stop is on a hill, do your best to make your way to a stop on more level ground as bus drivers may not be able to stop on a hill.

•Use a light or reflective gear to flag down the bus as visibility may be poor.

•Have your fare/pass ready before boarding the bus to keep things moving and the doors closed sooner.

Shelter spaces

The Comox Valley has a few winter shelter spaces available to escape the elements:


685 Cliffe Ave. Courtenay

Day: 8:30-11:30 a.m.; 1-6 p.m. Monday to Saturday

Night: 8 p.m.-8 a.m.

10 beds, first come, first serve

(250) 218-3975

Community Cares

St. John the Divine Church

579 5th St. Courtenay

8 p.m.-8 a.m. every day except Monday, 9 p.m.- 8 a.m.

30 mats/beds first come, first serve and drop-in

(250) 334-7552

Pidcock House

632 Pidcock Ave. Courtenay

36-plus beds

Call for availability

24 hours - in before 9

(250) 338-2533


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

About the Author: Ashley Wadhwani-Smith

I began my journalistic journey at Black Press Media as a community reporter in my hometown of Maple Ridge, B.C.
Read more