Skip to content

Extreme cold, dangerous wind chill, more snow for many parts of B.C.

Very cold air mass stretches across parts region, with marginal improvement expected by Wednesday
Nordic and skate skiing tracks are set around Kelowna for everyone to enjoy (Britt Bailey)

Wind chill values nudging -50 C cover much of northern British Columbia as Environment Canada says extreme cold and arctic outflow warnings have returned in many areas of the province.

The weather office says a very cold air mass stretches across parts of Yukon and northern, northeastern and southeastern B.C., with marginal improvement expected by Wednesday when winds are forecast to ease slightly.

The forecast prompted a warning from WorkSafeBC, the province’s worker safety agency, for those in forestry, utilities, mining and oil and gas industries in northern B.C.

It says in a statement that cold stress injuries can be extremely dangerous or even fatal in the event of hypothermia.

It says frostbite and other cold stress injuries led to 56 accepted claims between 2016 and 2020.

Environment Canada says conditions along the north and central coast also feel as cold as -20 C due to the wind chill, while winter storm watches warn of up to 20 centimetres of snow over northern Vancouver Island and the central coast through Thursday.

Environment Canada also shows more snow is due across the Lower Mainland late Wednesday, possibly creating a challenging Thursday commute.

Avalanche Canada says danger ratings are high and backcountry travel is not recommended on areas of the south coast, Sea-to-Sky and Vancouver Island mountains blanketed by at least 100 centimetres of snow since New Year’s Day.

Snow slabs formed by the wind in exposed areas are “touchy,” Avalanche Canada says in a post on its website.

“These slabs may take some time to stabilize, as they sit on a weak snow surface formed during the cold spell,” the advisory says.

North Shore Rescue reports a small avalanche partially engulfed a skier in the backcountry on Hollyburn Mountain in West Vancouver on Monday.

The skier suffered a possibly broken leg, the rescue team says in the social media post. Volunteers loaded him on a stretcher and skied him to safety just before nightfall.

— The Canadian Press

RELATED: Rescued in a whiteout: Kelowna snowboarder thankful for Big White ski patrol