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North Shore digging out from snowstorm

Environment Canada warning: plummeting temperatures will bring sudden freeze, icy conditions overnight Wednesday and into Thursday

The North Shore was busy digging out Wednesday morning after Mother Nature dropped the first big snowfall of the season Tuesday evening, with up to 10 centimetres falling at higher elevations.

Snowfall varied across the North Shore, with higher elevations and communities closer to Howe Sound receiving the brunt of the storm.

North and West Vancouver commuters generally fared better than many other parts of the Lower Mainland, where travellers were trapped on gridlocked bridges for hours.

Municipal crews were out overnight, with most of the highest priority routes cleared, although in West Vancouver, “crews were challenged to keep priority 1 routes and the snow routes clear overnight,” according to district spokesperson Donna Powers.

Municipal crews working to clear secondary, local roads

In both the City and District of North Vancouver, crews were out clearing priority 2 routes and local roadways Wednesday, although most smaller local roads had not yet been cleared.

The city reported that multi-use and bike paths were clear.

The Mount Fromme parking lot in the district was closed Wednesday morning, but other municipal facilities were open.

Buses detoured, ferries cancelled

The snowstorm resulted in a number of bus route delays and detours across the North Shore Tuesday afternoon and evening, particularly at higher elevations including Upper Lonsdale, as buses were challenged to make it up steep hills.

The 257 bus going to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal had "snow socks" put on because of hilly terrain combined with signficant snow, according to TransLink.

All other TransLink buses are equipped with winter mud and snow tires.

Winds in Georgia Strait also resulted in the cancellation of all ferries between Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo Tuesday afternoon and evening. Ferries to Bowen Island and the Sunshine Coast continued to run.

Most drivers were being cautious during the snowstorm, with police in both West Vancouver and North Vancouver reporting minimal calls for accidents due to the weather.

One vehicle was reported as spinning out on Capilano Road, according to the North Vancouver RCMP.

Environment Canada warns of freezing temperatures, icy conditions

But Mother Nature isn’t finished, according to Environment Canada, which issued a warning saying temperatures are expected to plunge overnight Wednesday. Outflow winds are expected to bring temperatures down overnight to between -5 and -10 C, with the windchill, and not rise much above freezing on Thursday.

Snow melting on Wednesday followed by a quick freeze will bring the potential for very icy, slippery conditions, said Derek Lee, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

The frigid conditions are expected to continue through to Thursday night.

Friday will bring the possibility of more snow, he added – although it’s also possible that could fall as rain.

Municipalities were urging residents to get their walkways and adjacent sidewalks cleared, and to help neighbours get theirs done, before temperatures fall on Wednesday night.

“Icy walkways are much harder to clear and pose a hazard,” said Rebecca Vaughan, spokesperson for the city.

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