A mix of rain, snow, high winds and winter storms will kick off the new year for British Columbians.
It’s a relief from the extreme cold spell the province experienced last week and good news for skiers and snowboarders near the coast.
Winter storm warnings are in effect for the central and north coasts, Howe Sound, Whistler, Squamish and the Sea to Sky region, with between 25 and 50 centimeters of snow forecast.
The dump will intensify Saturday night and ease Sunday night, according to Environment Canada.
Snowfall warnings were issued Saturday for the Peace River region, Williston, Teslin, Watson Lake and the Cassiar Mountains as a storm moves through southeast Yukon and northern Colombia’s interior -British.
Those areas can expect between 15 and 25 cm of snowfall that subsides overnight, Environment Canada said.
Residents of Eastern Vancouver Island and Metro Vancouver are urged to beware of high winds of 70 kilometers per hour – with gusts of up to 90 km/h – which could snap branches trees or throw objects.
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As temperatures rise in Vancouver, adds Environment Canada, precipitation could lead to rapid melting of snow on the ground.
The Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver regions have been placed under a winter storm watch.
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Meanwhile, special weather statements warning of snowfall are in place for parts of the interior, including the Nicola, Similkameen, Boundary, West Kootenay, Kootenay Lake, Shuswap and Columbia areas.
Between 20 and 40 cm of snow could fall in these areas between Saturday and Monday. The Fraser Canyon could see up to 50cm. East Vancouver is also expecting between 5 and 15 cm.
Extreme cold warnings remain in only two parts of the province – Yoho-Kootenay Park and Elk Valley, which could see wind chill readings of minus 35 on Saturday. Temperatures are expected to moderate in the afternoon.
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The conditions have impacted road safety in several areas of the province.
Saturday, the Ministry of Transport not recommended non-essential travel on portions of Highways 3, 16, 37 and 37A, and restricting the weight of vehicles allowed on Highway 99 between Pemberton and Lillooet.
The City of Vancouver has also extended its own weather alert until Jan. 3, meaning warming centers will remain open.
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