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Major snow storm will be wreaking havoc across Lower Mainland Tuesday

Do not travel unless vehicle is equipped to navigate blizzard like conditions

Heavy snow is wreaking havoc across the Lower Mainland Tuesday (Dec. 20) with whiteout conditions and near blizzard conditions being reported caused by blowing snow.

A travel advisory for Highway 1 was put in effect between Abbotsford and Chilliwack at 8 a.m. due to limited visibility with snow.

Shortly after that provincial officials advised all drivers to “avoid non-essential travel” for the day due to the major snowfall overnight.

At least 25 centimetres of snow fell in Metro Vancouver by late morning, while 35 centimetres was being estimated for the Fraser Valley, as the snow continues.

Ministry of Transportation maintenance contractors are out in “full force” to clear snow and apply sand.

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

DriveBC was reporting “compact snow with slippery sections” on highways and roads.

“Do not travel unless your vehicle is equipped with winter tires, working head and tail lights, wipers, with snow cleared off your vehicle,” DriveBC advised.

The arctic front with its frosty air mass is staying put over the Lower Mainland, and the snow is piling up from the Fraser Valley to Metro Vancouver after a major storm let loose between 15 to 20 centimetres, and up to 25 centimetres in some parts of the region.

Environment Canada issued a winter storm warning for most of Tuesday, with continued arctic outflow warnings to boot that will see wind chill values of -25 to -20 for Abbotsford, Mission and Chilliwack, with -30 to -25 in the eastern Fraser Valley including Agassiz and Hope.

Roger Pannett, Chilliwack’s weather observer for Environment Canada noted that -13 on Tuesday morning was a record cold temperature, with the wind chill making it feel like -23. That’s more than 13 degrees below normal.

The last time it was that cold on Dec. 20 was in 1990.

Accumulating snow on surfaces was making it hard to navigate roads, and sidewalks, and visibility was “suddenly reduced to near zero” at times due to blowing snow.

RELATED: Snow and wind chill on the way

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Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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