Snowstorm impacts flights at Vancouver airport

Department of Transportation officials said up to 30 centimeters (12 inches) of snow had covered parts of southern Vancouver Island.

VANCOUVER, BC – Snow and arctic winds blowing through parts of British Columbia in Canada and into the northwestern United States temporarily halted all flights at Vancouver’s airport on Tuesday.

Weather forecasters have warned of power outages in parts of the Pacific coastal province due to a life-threatening cold spell from the arctic air mass expected this week to sweep as far as Southern United States during peak tourist season during winter break.

The Department of Transportation said up to 30 centimeters (12 inches) of snow had accumulated over areas south of Vancouver Island while Metro Vancouver struggled with up to 25 centimeters (10 inches) of snow. Environment Canada forecasts that there will be another 10 centimeters (4 inches) of decline before conditions ease in Vancouver.

Vancouver International Airport temporarily suspended all incoming and outgoing flights early Tuesday, keeping departing planes at the gate and stranding passengers on some incoming flights for hours.

Airport spokeswoman Megan Sutton said in an emailed statement the airport said it was processing “mass cancellations” and working to “safely disembark passengers” after the snow. The crash had an “unprecedented” impact on flights.

“Passengers planning to fly today and this week should check with their airline directly about the status of their flight,” she said, urging people to stay away.

The airport was packed with stranded passengers, many sitting or sleeping on the floor.

Mary Guzman, a resident of Surrey, British Columbia, said she and her family flew to the Philippines at 9pm in the hope of spending Christmas with relatives there. But after spending the night on the tarmac on the plane that had landed, they were told the flight had been cancelled.

“That night wasn’t easy, especially (because) we had a 4-year-old daughter and an 88-year-old grandpa,” Guzman said, pointing to the toddler and his elderly mother. “We never slept on the plane. But that’s the thing, we understand it’s for our safety. So I continue to pray that we can leave tonight.”

BC’s Department of Transport said in a statement that motorists in the Lower Mainland and southern and central Vancouver Island are encouraged to avoid non-essential travel.

BC Ferry also canceled all morning sailings between the Mainland, Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast and the southern Gulf Islands because of poor visibility and difficulty getting to the ferry terminal, while police in Abbotsford, east of Vancouver, reported. Report power outages along Highway 1 through the Fraser Valley.

BC and Victoria universities, as well as Simon Fraser University and BC Institute of Technology, have all canceled scheduled exams or classes in the morning and are scheduled to update their afternoon plans later in the day. . Snowstorm impacts flights at Vancouver airport

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