Environment Canada anticipates that snowfall and winter storm warnings will be lifted by Christmas Eve in large parts of central and southern British Columbia.
Special weather statements were posted in Victoria, Metro Vancouver, the inner south coast. They advise that rain will turn to snow over the weekend. An arctic air blast will cause temperatures to plummet throughout the province for the rest of December.
Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety, advised residents to prepare.
He said that the next few days will see heavy and blowing snow, freezing drizzle, and very cold weather in most of B.C.
In some places, the weather is already here.
According to the weather bureau, temperatures are likely to be much lower than seasonal through December.
Environment Canada warned of an increase in the risk of hypothermia, frostbite, and hypothermia due to these conditions. Wear appropriate clothing outdoors and protect yourself.
Northern British Columbia was already feeling the effects of extreme cold. Thursday saw wind chills that felt close to -45 C along the Yukon boundary.
Environment Canada warned that an Arctic outflow warning was issued for the north coast regions, including Kitimat & Terrace. Wind chill values of -30C were expected this weekend. However, areas from Prince George and Revelstoke could see temperatures as low at -36 C by next week.
Evacuation alerts have been issued for Smithers due to sub-zero temperatures. An ice jam on the Bulkley river is threatening to flood both sides. Smithers and the Bulkley-Nechako Regional District advised affected residents to be ready for evacuation on short notice.
Farnworth stated that the province was taking precautions to protect the most vulnerable during the cold spell by providing more shelter spaces than 1,900 and nearly 360 shelter spaces in extreme weather for the homeless.
He stated that it is essential that we all take action to protect ourselves, our families, and vulnerable friends and neighbours.
This report by The Canadian Press first appeared Dec. 23, 2021.