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Okanagan schools have first snow day in 35 years after record-breaking weather

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Monday, January 5, 2015, 8:34 PM - For children reluctantly heading back to school after the holidays, the timing of Kelowna's latest snowstorm has become one for the history books.

A winter snowstorm has battered the southern interior of British Columbia with heavy snow since Sunday.

On Monday, schools in the Central Okanagan School District declared an official snow day for the first time in 35 years. All public schools in the school board were closed.

Other schools in the region cancelled classes and buses for various weather-related reasons, including power outages, unsafe road conditions and unplowed parking lots.


RELATED: More snow headed for BC/Alberta border


But as happy as students might have been to add another day to their vacation, for people traveling by air, the snow has caused unwelcome delays.

WestJet cancelled at least 10 flights out of the Kelowna International Airport on Monday after the airline ran out of de-icing fluid. The supply was completely diminished thanks to a very active winter season.

"It's always a frustrating time, this is one of our busiest travel days," said Jenelle Hynes, Community Relations Manager at the Kelowna International Airport. "Sunday and Monday are our last of the peak busy days where we have almost 7,500 passengers in and out of the airport today, as well as tomorrow."

The airline has added additional flights on Tuesday in order to accommodate travelers left out in the cold as a result of Monday's storm.

According to their website, severe winter weather has forced Westjet to issue travel advisories on both Canadian coasts. Flights in and out of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island have also been affected by winter storms this week.


HEADING EAST?: Weekend storm hammers the Maritimes


While heavy snow and limited visibility has impacted other flights out of Kelowna, airport officials stated that their own de-icing equipment, used to clear runways and taxiways, is still in working order.

In Kelowna, snow removal trucks are working around the clock in order to remove piling snow from city streets. Unnecessary travel is not recommended leading into Tuesday. Local highways have reported heavy snow, limited visibility and slippery conditions.

A winter storm warning is in effect for the Okanagan Valley.  Heavy snow is expected to turn to freezing rain as milder air moves through the area Tuesday.


SEE BELOW: What Kelowna's first snow day in 35 years looked like to one of our viewers:


Light, fluffy snow headed for parts of Alberta and BC
4.5 magnitude earthquake strikes off Vancouver Island

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