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Arctic air prompts Environment Canada to issue special weather statement for Metro Vancouver

Highway alert also in effect for Coquihalla from Hope to Merritt
Vancouver winter
Temperatures in Vancouver are expected to drop well below the freezing mark this week, prompting Environment Canada to issue a special weather statement for the region.

The mild conditions Vancouverites have enjoyed since winter arrived are about to turn for the chillier. 

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement in effect for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley as a mass of cold Arctic air moves toward the region, dropping temperatures several degrees.

According to the national weather agency, the freezing air mass is currently pushing southwards across B.C.'s Interior and is predicted to continue blowing toward B.C.'s coast.

"The cold air will be in place throughout the province by Monday, and persist for the remainder of the week," the alert reads.

The Arctic outflow will force temperatures in Interior regions down 10 to 20 C below the seasonal average. Coastal areas, including Metro Vancouver, will experience a far more comfortable 5-to-10-degree dip below usual temperatures.

Regardless, Environment Canada says this week will bring the coldest days Vancouver has experienced so far this winter.

Though temperatures are dropping, the sun is mercifully sticking around for the next week or so. Vancouver's forecast calls for a mix of sun and cloud Sunday and a high of 7 C, before decreasing to a low of -2 C overnight.

It appears that temperatures in Metro Vancouver will bottom out on Wednesday, when temperatures are predicted to reach a high of -2 C during the day, before dipping down to -8 C overnight.

For reference, the lowest temperature recorded in Vancouver on Feb. 6 between 1937 and 2013 was -7.8 C in 1948. 

Highway alert in effect for Coquihalla from Hope to Merritt

In addition to the special weather statement, Environment Canada also issued a snowfall warning for the Coquihalla Highway between Hope and Merritt and Highway 3 between Hope and Princeton, via the Allison Pass. 

According to the alert, a Pacific frontal system moving across southern B.C. is predicted to bring snow to parts of the region, with total snowfall amounts forecasted to land somewhere between 20 and 30 cm. 

An additional 10 cm of snow was expected to fall overnight Saturday on both of the aforementioned highways.

The alert warns that visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow, while rapidly accumulating snow will make travel difficult. "Poor weather conditions may contribute to transportation delays," the alert adds. 

Drivers are encouraged to adjust to winter driving behaviour according to current conditions, and use winter tires and chains when driving through mountainous areas.