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Storm brings arctic chill, heavy snow and punishing winds to parts of coastal B.C.

Snow expected to change to rain in most affected areas Wednesday morning

Snowfall, winter storm and arctic outflow warnings now cover most of coastal British Columbia from Terrace south to Metro Vancouver as a powerful storm packing frigid winds is forecast to bring heavy snow to those regions.

Mountain passes, including the Malahat on Vancouver Island and the Sea-to-Sky, Coquihalla and Okanagan Connector on the mainland are also due to be hit.

The weather office says snow on the highways will range from 10 centimetres on the Island to as much as 40 centimetres between Whistler and Squamish.

Nanaimo, Port Alberni and West Vancouver could see accumulations of nearly 25 centimetres by Wednesday morning while about 15 centimetres is expected for Greater Vancouver and Interior communities including Williams Lake and Lytton.

Victoria and parts of southern Vancouver Island should see rain rather than heavy snow, but winds gusting up to 90 kilometres per hour are forecast there overnight and early Wednesday, while the central coast will be hammered by arctic outflow winds, potentially causing power outages or damage in all those areas.

The forecast shows snow should change to rain in most areas by early Wednesday, creating a sloppy morning commute, but until then, much of the south coast is recording temperatures of freezing or below, making it feel closer to minus 10 C with the wind chill.

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