A plow clears snow from the parking lot at Tyler’s No Frills in Port Alberni on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020 (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Winter storm warning lifted for most of southern Vancouver Island

Schools open in Alberni, capital region, closed Campbell River to Cowichan

What began as Greater Victoria’s problem appears to have shifted more to Campbell River and the Comox Valley.

Environment Canada has lifted the winter storm warning slapped on the east coast of Vancouver Island yesterday afternoon except for Courtenay to Campbell River, where residents are still coping with its remnants.

“Snow will continue for the next few hours over inland sections of East Vancouver Island – Courtenay to Campbell River. Additional accumulation of 5 cm is expected this morning. Southeast winds of 60 – 80 km/h will ease later this morning,” a warning issued at 3:36 a.m. states.

Winter storm warning now in effect for southeast Vancouver Island

The Campbell River and Comox Valley School Districts have already announced they are closed for the day.

“​We have been closely monitoring the weather conditions all afternoon/evening and have decided to make the unusual decision to announce tonight that all schools in the Campbell River School District (SD72) and district programs will be CLOSED Thurs. Jan. 16, 2020,” reads a statement posted to the district website shortly after 10:30 p.m. last night. “Evening events and facility rentals for Jan. 16, 2020 are also cancelled.”

Nanaimo, Cowichan and Qualicum joined them at 6 a.m. this morning.

“The weather has improved and the main roads have been cleared, however walking or driving to school may still be a challenge, especially on rural and side streets, therefore all NLPS schools are closed today,” a statement from the Nanaimo district reads.

Further south, temperatures are already above freezing and light rain has started to wash away accumulations of snow, which is expected to continue throughout the day. The Sooke district gave a hint of what was to come yesterday with the following Tweet.

“With the weather forecast we currently have, we are anticipating being open tomorrow. Any updates regarding closures will be communicated as soon as possible in the morning.

“Please be aware that our school parking lots will be more congested tomorrow due to piles of snow from our plows. Please take care as you walk to our schools.”

This morning, the Alberni, Sooke, Saanich and Greater Victoria districts all announced they are open, although Sooke cautioned buses will not be running.

Vancouver Island University has announced it will be closed until at least mid-day, with an update on afternoon and evening activity coming later this morning. The exception is the Powell River campus, which is open.

Check back for updates as we get them.

BC Hydro is reporting nearly 11,000 customers without power, on the north Island and an additional 1,500 in the south Island.

Around 6 a.m. BC Hydro was reporting nearly 11,000 customers without power on the north Island and an additional 1,500 in the south Island.

“High winds and snow caused branches and trees to fall onto power lines,” a BC Hydro media release states.

“At the peak of the storm last night around 30,000 customers were without power. BC Hydro has already restored power to the majority of affected customers, and will continue to work throughout the day to safely restore power to remaining customers.

The hardest hit areas as of 6:30 a.m. include:

· Courtenay: around 4000 customers without power

· Port Alberni: around 2000 customers without power

· Ucluelet: around 2000 customers without power

· Sechelt: around 1700 customers without power

· Victoria: around 1300 customers without power

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