B.C. snow storm leaves thousands without power

BC snow storm left 75,000 customers without power today. BC Hydro says the hardest hit areas were the Vancouver Island communities of Victoria, Nanaimo and Duncan.

It says heavy, wet snow and freezing rain caused extensive damage to power lines, poles and transformers and crews were working around-the-clock to fix the problems.

Environment Canada issued weather alerts Tuesday morning for Vancouver Island and Metro Vancouver, predicting up to 20 centimetres of snow in higher elevations of the island and 10 to 15 centimetres of snow in the Vancouver region.

The Transportation Ministry says snow was falling at a rate of 10 to 12 centimetres every hour in some areas of the province resulting in poor road conditions.

The southbound lanes of Highway 5 between Merritt and Hope were closed much of Tuesday afternoon when a commercial vehicle spun out and a travel advisory was issued for the open northbound lanes.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the City of Vancouver said its crews would be working overnight to keep salting and plowing major roadways and that it had activated the operations centre for dealing with extreme weather to co-ordinate the municipal response. It said the weather was prompting a move to open three warning centres at community centres overnight for people trying to escape the cold.

In Victoria, the airport had to operate on what they called essential power through part of the day before full power was restored in mid-afternoon. Heavy snow was blamed for flight delays and cancellations. Terminal operations were subsequently restored.