Arctic air sweeping across B.C. is sending much of the province into a deep freeze as winter arrives with an icy whallop.
The drastic change in conditions has prompted arctic air and extreme cold warnings for many areas.
Environment Canada said the arctic air currently over the northern interior will continue to filter southwards and towards the coast.
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Temperatures were expected to drop Tuesday, with the interior regions expected to reach lows of 10 to 20 degrees below the seasonal average, while coastal areas will be five to 10 degrees below seasonal.
The icy blast was expected to stick around for the whole week.
Fraser and King Edward a few minutes ago, but the sun is threatening to break through now.
— Quinn Duffy (@QuinnDuffy) February 8, 2021
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Cold weather ahead: Arctic air in B.C. forecast, southbound blast expected to blanket province
A winter welcome! The snow is sticking in #WestwoodPlateau. This is near Bramble Park in #CoquitlamBC@cityofcoquitlam. Roads a bit slick still!
— Andrea Macpherson (@AMacOnAir) February 8, 2021
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Environment Canada has issued extreme cold warnings for Peace River, Bulkley Valley, Cassiar Mountains, Chilcotin, Dease Lake, Elk Valley, Fort Nelson, Haines Junction to Pleasant Camp, Muncho Lake Park, Prince George, South Klondike Highway, Stuart-Nechako, Watson Lake, Williston and Yoho Park-Kootenay Park.
These areas were expected to reach lows of minus 35 to minus 45 through Thursday, according to Environment Canada, bringing the risk of frostbite and a reminder to cover up exposed skin if you have to go outside.
Winter hit downtown #Vancouver for less than an hour this afternoon but boy was it exciting! Back to sun now. But heads up, we could see another quick blast of snow flakes today as instability remains over the region. #BCStorm
— Kristi Gordon (@KGordonGlobalBC) February 8, 2021
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Most of the rest of the province is under an arctic outflow or special weather statement.
Community organizations were handing out blankets, jackets and toques to those who cannot seek shelter inside.
“It could be the difference between life and death,” Jeremy Hunka from the Union Gospel Mission in Vancouver told Global News Sunday. “We’ve already seen this year that cold weather can be deadly for people who don’t have a home.”
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