Classes cancelled, transit delayed amid massive Vancouver Island snowfall
VICTORIA -- It's officially a snow day, at least for South Island students, as Vancouver Island is hit by a massive snowfall.
The Ministry of Transportation is asking all drivers to avoid non-essential travel on Highway 1 from Nanaimo to Victoria.
"Those who must travel are asked to use extreme caution and drive to the conditions," the province said Wednesday morning. "The ministry advises travellers to expect winter conditions for the rest of the week."
The Greater Victoria School District, along with Saanich and Sooke, are all reporting that schools are closed early Wednesday. Camosun College and the University of Victoria are also closing due to roughly 30 centimetres of snow clogging some roads.
School districts in Nanaimo, Ladysmith and the Cowichan Valley are also shuttered as travel to and from classrooms is being deemed too dangerous.
First responders have been kept busy with minor fender-benders and vehicles sliding off roadways throughout the Capital Region. There have been no reports of major accidents yet.
BC Transit told CTV News they are operating, but riders island-wide should expect delays and cancellations. Check bctransit.com for updates on your particular route.
In downtown Victoria, pedestrians are struggling early this morning as most sidewalks remain snow-covered. On Pandora Avenue, many pedestrians have taken to walking in the middle of the road causing motorists to pull onto the shoulder or wait for the pedestrians.
Parking is free at all downtown Victoria parkades.
At 7 a.m., bike lanes had been completely cleared, and were the safest route of those braving winter conditions.
Greater Victoria isn’t done with this frosty winter blast yet, as Environment Canada has shifted from a snowfall warning to a wind warning. Gusts of up to 90 km/h are predicted for the South Island on Wednesday night and meteorologists warn that the winds could cause damage.
Victoria recycling and garbage pickup is also cancelled today.
This is a developing story and will be updated when new information becomes available.