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Storm forces closure of highways linking B.C.’s south coast, Interior

A pedestrian walks past a hill on Alder Street closed to traffic because of snow in Vancouver on Feb. 6, 2017.

DARRYL DYCK/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Travel between British Columbia's south coast and the Interior is at a standstill after freezing rain and heavy snow closed every major highway.

Many travellers spent a frigid night trapped on Highway 5, the Coquihalla Highway, when that busy route was shut down by icy conditions and several collisions.

Highway 1 from Yale to Lytton and through Glacier National Park is also closed by a high avalanche hazard, while the same risk severed Highway 3 east of Hope and near the Alberta boundary, as well as Highway 99 from Pemberton to Lillooet.

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Other highways across central and southeastern B.C. will see planned, time-limited closures through the day for avalanche control or snow removal.

The problems follow a severe storm that swept across the south half of the province on Thursday, prompting an Avalanche Canada advisory urging backcountry users to avoid heading out this weekend, or to ensure they have advanced avalanche training and equipment.

BC Hydro has made good progress restoring power to tens of thousands of blacked-out customers, but the utility is still reporting more than 6,000 customers are without electricity around Metro Vancouver, and about 3,000 are in the dark on Vancouver Island.

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