Ferries cancelled, drivers urged to stay home as snow piles up in Greater Victoria

Ferries cancelled, drivers urged to stay home as snow piles up in Greater Victoria

The message for Greater Victoria on Tuesday morning is to stay home as most transport is restricted due to heavy snowfall overnight.

The province is asking residents to avoid non-essential travel on Tuesday as at least 25 centimeters of snow fell in Greater Victoria, with 30 centimeters on Malahat and other areas of the island.

Environment Canada forecasts more snow for the next few hours.

As of 6am BC Transit suspended all services in Greater Victoria.

All morning ferries between Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and the Gulf Islands are delayed or canceled due to weather and staff shortages.

Emcon Services, which maintains the malahat, is asking drivers to avoid travel where possible, with a recommendation applying to Highway 1 from Langford to Mill Bay.

Police departments from across the region stressed that people should stay off the streets if they can. Central Saanich Police said many of the roads in that community are impassable, calling the Pat Bay Highway and its forks “treacherous.” Mount Newton Cross and Tanner roads are closed in both directions off Highway 17. The Keating Cross Road exit is also closed.

For those seeking refuge from the conditions, the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness said a warming center is open at St John the Devine Anglican Church (1611 Quadra St.).

Vancouver International Airport said just after 1:30 a.m. that it was temporarily suspending inbound flights.

Victoria International Airport is warning travelers about delays and cancellations due to wintry conditions. It advises passengers to check with their airline and allow extra time to get to the airport.

Elementary and high school students are off the hook with this snowfall as students are already heading into winter break. However, the conditions are affecting local post-secondary schools.

The University of Victoria has canceled in-person exams scheduled for the morning and announced that an updated schedule for the finals will be released later on Tuesday while online exams proceed as planned. UVic said an update on the status of campus and afternoon exams would be released at 10am. Camosun College and Royal Roads University closed their campuses for the day.

Thousands are without power between the East Sooke area and Port Renfrew, with some outages beginning around 4am. Crews were at the site of the power outage in East Sooke just after 6 a.m. where a tree over wires was responsible for the power problems.

The CRD said it will clear, grind and de-ice high-traffic urban sections of the Galloping Goose, Lockside and E&N trails.

Community halls and other community facilities such as leisure centers are closed during the day.

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