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Western Canada hit with freezing temperatures — and they’re expected to last all week

Extreme cold and blasts of Arctic air are expected to continue across the province until the end of this week, with more snow on the way before temperatures gradually get warmer next week, according to Environment Canada. 

Alyssa Charbonneau, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, says frigid temperatures with cold outflow winds from the northeast could make the temperature feel as low as  –20 C Tuesday night due to wind chill.

“It will be a cold, clear night,” she said. “After tomorrow, we are seeing a slight warming, but temperatures are expected to remain below freezing and below our seasonal normals.”

An extreme cold and Arctic outflow warning is in effect for the South Coast as well as northern and central B.C., she said, with snow expected to return starting Wednesday evening.

There are no warnings for the Okanagan or Vancouver Island, she said, where temperatures are still well below the seasonal average.

“We are looking at potentially five to 15 cm [of snow] across Vancouver Island, maybe some places seeing higher amounts of snow linger through Thursday,” Charbonneau told CBC News.

By Sunday, she said another storm is expected to move in, bringing more snow and possibly freezing rain to Central B.C. and Metro Vancouver on Sunday night and Monday morning.

Environment Canada noted that frostbite and hypothermia can occur within minutes if adequate precautions are not taken when outdoors.

WATCH | Western Canada prepares for blast of extreme cold weather: 

Western Canada hit with freezing temperatures — and they're expected to last all week

Unbearable cold weather shatters records across Western Canada

1 day ago

Duration 2:05

A blast of winter from Manitoba to B.C. is shattering cold weather records, with frigid temperatures expected to continue into the new year. 2:05

Pedestrian routes not cleared

Vancouver Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung said she was disappointed to see that some pedestrian routes were not prioritized when the snow started to fall last week.

Kirby-Yung brought forward a motion to council in February 2021 to improve the city’s snow response, after noticing that the city was clearing priority arterial routes for cars and bikes, but not pedestrians.

In Vancouver, property owners and occupants are responsible for clearing snow and ice from sidewalks in front of their property, but pedestrian routes surrounding parks and other public spaces are the city’s responsibility. 

Kirby-Yung said this week’s snowfall was the first significant event since the city’s updated policy came into effect and it would show if pedestrian routes were prioritized.

“It was really disappointing because there was a clear gap and that’s why I brought the motion forward,” she said. “The policy was updated, there was training that was done for staff, but in the execution, it just didn’t happen.”

She said steps were taken to treat the missed sections of sidewalk, and helped those responding to her posts get in touch with the city to ensure the complaints were addressed.

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