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B.C. storm brings wind, snow and rain to much of the province

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A winter storm brought a wind warning to B.C.'s capital and snowfall warnings for parts of its largest metro area Saturday.

Environment and Climate Change Canada issued the warnings alongside dozens of other advisories as the storm reached the South Coast in the morning.

By evening, most of the warnings and special weather statements had been lifted, with several snowfall warnings remaining in the Interior.

In Victoria, the wind warning called for sustained winds of 70 km/h, gusting to 90 km/h around noon, before abating early in the evening as the storm front passed.

The high winds associated with the storm contributed to BC Ferries' decision to cancel several midday sailings on major routes between Greater Victoria and Metro Vancouver. 

In a preliminary summary of the storm issued Saturday evening, ECCC said the highest wind gust recorded in the province was a hurricane-force 176 km/h on Sartine Island, an uninhabited nature reserve of the northwest coast of Vancouver Island.

The strongest gust in the Greater Victoria area was 91 km/h at a station called "Kelp Reefs" in Haro Strait. Gusts reached 89 km/h at Discovery Island and 63 km/h at Victoria International Airport.

On the mainland, the weather agency issued snowfall warnings for municipalities on Metro Vancouver's North Shore and in its northeast.

Accumulations near five centimetres were forecast at elevations between 200 and 400 metres, with smaller amounts below 200 metres.

"The snow will initially melt on contact with the surface, reducing the total snowfall accumulation," ECCC said in the warning.

"However, where precipitation rates are highest, near five centimetres of snow will accumulate. The snow will change back to rain this evening as the warm front moves in and snow levels rise."

By the end of the day, Environment Canada was reporting snowfall totals of two to six centimetres in the Abbotsford area, five cenitmetres in Chilliwack and Coquitlam, four to five centimetres on Burnaby Mountain and lower totals closer to the coast.

Snowfall warnings remained in effect for parts of the Interior Saturday night, including Prince George and the Cariboo, Shuswap and North Okanagan regions.

The Prince George area had seen between seven and nine centimetres of accumulation at the time of ECCC's preliminary update. The community of Rosswood, in the province's northwest, had seen the highest total at that time, with 20 centimetres of snow reported on the ground there.

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