Vancouver Island snowstorm leaves thousands without power, schools closed
Thousands of BC Hydro customers on Vancouver Island were in the dark Monday as overnight snowfall downed tree limbs and power lines.
More than 8,000 customers on the North Island were without electricity by 8 a.m., according to the power provider.
Campbell River, Port Hardy and Alert Bay were the communities most affected by the early outages.
Nearly 1,000 customers on Galiano Island were also without electricity Monday morning.
The weather and power outages also shut down a COVID-19 testing centre in Campbell River on Monday.
Island Health says that the testing and collection site on 1358 Marwalk St. was temporarily closed due to a power outage in the area.
Anyone who booked a COVID-19 test at the centre will be contacted by the health authority to reschedule their appointment.
"If you require testing, and are unable to get tested today, please do not go to an emergency department for testing," said Island Health in a statement Monday.
"Stay home, avoid contact with others and continue to self-isolate until you get your test and results, and then follow the self-isolation period recommended for your result."
Otherwise, anyone who develops severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, should call 911 or go to their nearest Emergency Department, says Island Health.
The overnight snowfall caused school closures in some regions of the island.
All schools in the Campbell River School District and the Comox Valley School District were closed Monday.
All Campbell River School District programs, facility rentals and evening events are also cancelled, the district said in a statement posted on its Facebook account.
"If you are a group that had reserved the use of one of our facilities, please contact the school board office receptionist to reschedule or receive a refund," the school district said.
SNOWFALL WARNINGS STILL ACTIVE
Snowfall warnings remain in effect for every region of the island, with accumulation up to 25 centimetres predicted at higher elevations and inland regions.
The Greater Victoria region was largely spared by the overnight snowfall, though areas on the Saanich Peninsula and the Malahat did see overnight snow.
A snowplow on the Malahat highway on Monday, Dec. 6, 2021. (CTV News)
"A strong frontal system from the Pacific coupling with cold surface temperatures is bringing snow to Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast," said Environment and Climate Change Canada in a statement Monday.
"Depending on the location, the snow will gradually transition to rain or wet snow mixed with rain this morning or early afternoon," the weather service added.
Drivers are advised prepare for traffic delays and changing road conditions.