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School closures, car crashes, power outages: Lower Mainland sees aftermath of snow storm

151 schools closed so far Wednesday
Dozens of vehicles were stranded on the Northbound lanes of the bridge for several hours Tuesday (nov. 29) as crews worked to plow and salt the bridge deck including several transit busses and semi-trucks. Eventually, Main Road crews were able to get several trucks onto the bridge and began freeing up some of the stuck vehicles. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)

Lower Mainland residents are waking up to slippery roads and school closures, following a chaotic night of car crashes, multi-hour commutes and power outages during the first real snow storm of the season.

School closures

School districts in Chilliwack, Hope, Langley, Abbotsford and Maple Ridge have told students to stay home and enjoy a snow day, amounting to the closure of about 151 schools.

READ ALSO: B.C. STORM: First storm of the season hit the Fraser Valley hard with more to come

Students at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby campus have also been told to avoid the roads. UBC said classes scheduled before 1 p.m. won’t run, while SFU said classes are cancelled for the entire day. Its Vancouver and Surrey campuses remain open, however.

Khalsa Schools of BC has also decided to close its four locations throughout the Lower Mainland.

READ ALSO: B.C. STORM: Gridlock traffic, stuck vehicles wreak havoc across Lower Mainland

Road conditions

Road conditions remain poor Wednesday morning, with DriveBC reporting crashes and stuck vehicles throughout the region, particularly along the Trans Canada Highway. A stalled vehicle southbound on the Alex Fraser Bridge has been cleared, while a crash on the Port Mann Bridge is still holding up traffic as of about 8:45 a.m.

Tuesday afternoon and evening, drivers reported commutes as long as 12 hours, as multi-car pileups closed major highways. At the Vancouver International Airport, the slippery conditions even sent a plane off the taxiway.

READ ALSO: Traffic mayhem, power outages, plane off taxiway as snow hits B.C. south coast

Power outages

Power has been restored to the majority of Lower Mainland residents who lost it overnight Tuesday, but some 4,700 are still in the dark Wednesday morning, according to BC Hydro’s 6:30 a.m. update. The largest outages remain in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Pitt Meadows and Vancouver. A few dozen people are also without power in Richmond, Surrey, Burnaby and Langley.

Across the south coast, about 50,000 people lost power in total as a result of the storm.

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About the Author: Jane Skrypnek

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media.
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