Long lists of airline travel alerts as winter storm systems ramp up

Long lists of airline travel alerts as winter storm systems ramp up

TORONTO — Canadians from coast to coast are getting hit by winter winds and snow and that means plenty of airline travel advisories.

Residents of B.C.’s south coast will have to keep their snow shovels handy after putting them to use – many for the first time this winter – over the weekend.

Just hours after Environment Canada lifted one snowfall warning for the region, a second has been issued as the weather office warns of “a long period of snowfall with total amounts of 10 to 15 centimetres expected.”

Snow is forecast to arrive by the afternoon and continue into Tuesday morning across most of Vancouver Island including Victoria and the southern Gulf Islands, the Sunshine Coast, Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver.

Meanwhile the bitter cold continues across Howe Sound and Whistler as arctic outflow winds create wind chill values near minus 20.

The BC Hydro website shows more than 3,000 customers remain without power, most of them on eastern Vancouver Island, but Hydro says crews are making steady progress following weekend storms, although challenging conditions are complicating efforts.

Meanwhile winds, blowing snow and extreme cold are disrupting travel in Newfoundland.

Snow and high winds lashing western Newfoundland have closed schools, suspended ferry service and restricted travel on major highways. The Trans-Canada Highway is closed between exits 14 and 15 with traffic diverting through Deer Lake.

Environment Canada has also issued blizzard warnings for Labrador, where winds were gusting to 110 kilometres an hour and about 15 centimetres of snow was expected around Nain.

Extreme cold was also being forecast for Labrador City and Wabush, with temperatures expected to dip to -45 Celsius.

And in between the west and east coasts, there are extreme cold warnings in Alberta as temperatures in that province as well as Saskatchewan dip into the minus double-digits, and a ‘Colorado low’ heading for Ontario and Quebec is expected to bring more snow and freezing rain starting in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Air Canada has issued travel alerts for a slew of Canadian gateways over the next few days, including: Charlottetown, Comox, Goose Bay, Nanaimo, Vancouver and Victoria (Seattle is also on the list) for Feb. 11; and Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City and Toronto (YTZ and YYZ) for Feb. 12 and 13. Passengers can change their flight plans without incurring change fees for these cities and dates.

WestJet is also allowing flight changes without fees, for the following cities and regions, all due to winter storm systems: Comox, Abbotsford, Nanaimo, Vancouver and Victoria (through Feb. 12); New York region (Feb. 12); Southern Ontario (Feb. 12); Fredericton, Halifax, Moncton, Sydney and Charlottetown (Feb. 13); Ottawa, Quebec City and Montreal (Feb. 12 – 13) and Gander and St. John’s (Feb. 14).

With files from The Canadian Press

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