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First day of winter brings first significant snowfall of the season in Nanaimo

Snowfall warning in effect on Vancouver Island’s east coast

UPDATE: B.C. Hydro says heavy, wet snow has led to power outages for about 32,000 customers on Vancouver Island, with outages in Nanaimo, Duncan, Victoria and elsewhere.

“All available crews are busy repairing damaged equipment and working to restore power,” noted B.C. Hydro in a social media post, adding that anyone who encounters a downed line should stay 10 metres back.

PREVIOUSLY POSTED: It’s the first day of winter, and it feels like it today in Nanaimo.

Snow is expected to fall until the afternoon, say forecasters. Environment Canada has a snowfall warning in effect for areas of Vancouver Island’s east coast, saying that “abundant moisture associated with the low will result in very heavy wet snow” over the region.

For parts of the Island south of the Comox Valley, as much as 15 centimetres of snow could fall before the precipitation tapers off this afternoon, the warning says.

Nanaimo RCMP say the snowfall in the north end of the city is heavy, “making driving conditions treacherous.” Police recommend that motorists avoid Rutherford Road and Turner Road, and say they will provide further updates throughout the day.

“If your vehicle is not equipped with snow tires and you do not have experience with winter driving, don’t drive,” noted an RCMP press release. “Additionally, ensure your windows are clear, lights are on and that you have supplies to assist if your vehicle goes off the roadway.”

Environment Canada reminds motorists that visibility is reduced in heavy snowfall.

“Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become difficult to navigate due to accumulating snow,” the warning notes.

RDN Transit’s website indicates that all transit routes and exchanges are operating normally right now.

There is also a wind warning in effect on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Environment Canada says people should take necessary safety precautions in adverse weather conditions and watch for updated statements.

READ ALSO: Snow possible in higher elevations on Vancouver Island this week

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Snow is expected to fall until the afternoon, says Environment Canada. (News Bulletin photo)
The morning commute on the Trans-Canada Highway near Morden Road south of Nanaimo on Monday. (Chris Bush/The News Bulletin)