Record-breaking snowfall buried parts of B.C. this week
Wednesday, January 7, 2015, 10:34 AM - In southern British Columbia, winter storms are a rare seasonal occurrence.
But the province's first snowstorm of 2015 packed a heavy punch earlier this week.
Here's a look at the record-breaking numbers behind the 2015 storm to sweep B.C.:
Temperatures hovered near the freezing mark before dropping in the southern interior.
While the coast saw mainly rain, heavy snow and freezing rain put a halt to the first day back to school and work after the holiday break.
This week's storm has become the snow event of the century for Central Okanagan.
The city of Kelowna saw more than 33 centimetres fall in less than 24 hours.
The region has not seen this much snow since 1899.
Snow began Sunday afternoon and continued into Monday evening. A second storm brought another round of snow, with the addition of freezing rain moving in overnight.
The weight of heavy snow on power lines left about 14,000 customers without electricity from Sunday night into Monday afternoon, according to BC Hydro.
As storms continued into Tuesday night, crews were still working to restore power in regions throughout southern B.C.
Winter storms brought the interior to a standstill earlier this week. affecting travel on the ground and in the air.
- Heavy snow led to multiple accidents and closures along major routes throughout the south. Several highways remained closed on Wednesday due to unsafe road conditions and the added risk of avalanches. Fallen trees and power lines, limited visibility and piles of snow had to be cleared before motorists could get through.
- Westjet was forced to cancel 10 flights in and out of the Kelowna International Airport due to heavy snow -- and a complete lack of de-icing fluid. Unusual winter weather conditions, including snow and freezing rain, left the airline depleted of their normal seasonal supply.
- On Monday, the Central Okanagan School District declared an official snow day for about 22,000 students for the first in 35 years. To the delight of many children, schools in the board remained closed on Tuesday as well.
- Several school buses were also cancelled due to slippery roads and power outages.
WARNINGS AND RISKS
Nearly three dozen warnings were issued by Environment Canada for the province by Monday afternoon, encompassing the risk of winter storms, rain, snow and extreme cold.
The amount of snow raised the risk of avalanches through the interior back country. Many of those areas remain at risk as milder temperatures and rain moved in early Wednesday, leaving the snow pack unstable.