Schools, daycares shut in Vancouver due to cold weather

(Reuters) - Schools and daycares in British Columbia's Vancouver School District were closed on Wednesday due to a rare extreme cold weather front that is hitting Canada's western province, with residents advised against traveling.

Environment Canada has issued extreme weather warnings for several areas in British Columbia, including snowfall warnings for Fraser Canyon and Fraser Valley, as well as wind and snowfall in Metro Vancouver. A blizzard warning is also in effect for Howe Sound.

Environment Canada also said a deep low pressure system has developed in the region that will cross Vancouver Island Wednesday night, bringing southeast winds of 70 to 90 kilometers per hour (45 to 55 miles per hour) in Greater Victoria early in the evening and spreading to the southern Gulf Islands.

Winds are expected to ease Thursday morning, according to Environment Canada.

British Columbia normally enjoys relatively temperate weather through the year, and the city of Vancouver is better known for its rain than the snowy winters that define the rest of Canada. The temperature in Vancouver on Wednesday morning was -6 Celsius (21 Fahrenheit), according to Environment Canada.

Simon Fraser University's Burnaby, Surrey and Vancouver campuses have also been closed, while all classes at the University of British Columbia's Vancouver campus were canceled.

Abbotsford Police have warned residents to stay off the highway through Abbotsford to Chilliwack as emergency crews take longer to reach stranded motorists.

"The roads are treacherous. Please stay home,” the Abbotsford Police Department tweeted.

The Government of British Columbia also advised motorists to avoid "all but essential travel" throughout the Metro Vancouver region today, including the Fraser Valley.

Cold weather has spread across western Canada this week, with the temperature in Edmonton, the capital of the province of Alberta, at -36 C (-33 F) as of Wednesday morning, according to Environment Canada.

(Reporting by Denise Paglinawan; Editing by Chris Reese)

01/15/2020 17:15

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