"Avoid travel" in Vancouver ahead of snow, ice pellets, and freezing rain

Dec 22 2022, 6:04 pm

Hold onto your hats if you think the weather’s been wild lately. Ahead of an upcoming winter storm that promises to bring snow, ice pellets, and freezing rain to Metro Vancouver, agencies warn people to avoid travel if possible.

From local transit authorities and federal weather agencies to BC’s Ministry of Transportation and YVR airport, here are all the latest travel alerts you should know.

TransLink travel alerts

Folks relying on TransLink to get around this week have faced long delays and crowded platforms.

According to TransLink, “customers should prepare for longer wait times and reduced service on SkyTrain” on Thursday. “Unnecessary travel should be avoided.”

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) travel alerts

Metro Vancouver is currently under an arctic outflow advisory and a winter storm watch. ECCC warns that as freezing levels start to rise this week, heavy snow will be mixed with ice pellets before changing into rain. About 10 to 20 cm of snow is expected.

Most dangerous is the freezing rain expected as the weather changes from snow to rain. “For central and eastern Fraser Valley and inland Vancouver Island, periods of freezing rain could continue into Saturday afternoon,” said ECCC.

“Avoid travel if possible.”

Drivers could face blowing snow, creating near-zero visibility. Rapidly accumulating snow on top of icy, slippery surfaces creates a perfect storm for poor driving conditions. ECCC also warns that urban rush hours could be impacted greatly by weather conditions.

Drive BC travel alerts

Drive BC, a service provided by the provincial government’s Ministry of Transportation, gives updates on the highways that connect Metro Vancouver.

If you’re heading out by car, be sure to give your route a check on Drive BC before you go to keep updated on the latest delays and closures.

In Metro Vancouver, there have been some lane closures, road work, vehicle incidents, and stalls affecting traffic.

“Drivers should plan ahead, stay off the road if weather conditions worsen, and ensure their vehicle is properly equipped with snow tires if they have to travel,” the Ministry told Daily Hive earlier this week.

Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

The situation at YVR airport has caused a lot of stress for travellers. Among delays, cancellations, messy baggage claims, and people stuck on the tarmac for up to 11 hours – YVR has struggled to cope with demand under freezing conditions.

On Wednesday, YVR announced that it would even limit international arrivals to help clear a backlog.

Now, as of Thursday, YVR says the situation is improving. “Travellers are encouraged to check the latest flight information directly with their airline to determine if their scheduled flight will be departing,” said YVR.

BC Ferries travel alerts

BC Ferries has seen lots of delays, burst pipes, and cancellations amidst the worsening weather, too, starting Thursday night and lasting until Christmas Eve.

According to BC Ferries, there’s a “strong possibility” of sailing cancellations, and “poor road conditions leading to the terminals as well as high winds are expected to impact operations.”

Customers whose sailings are cancelled will be refunded. For more information, you can check out BC Ferries’ travel advisories.

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