NAKUSP, B.C. – Thousands were without electricity in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley on Friday after freezing rain and a buildup of ice brought down trees and power lines.
Travel advisories were posted for the entire Coquihalla Highway and heavy snow was also forecast for Highway 97C between Merritt and Kelowna. Environment Canada called for as much as 25 centimetres of snow in mountain passes before Saturday.
The Fraser Valley was one of the hardest hit areas after freezing rain fell on Thursday night.
The freezing rain continued through Friday. BC Hydro said Abbotsford and Mission were the worst hit areas with more than 40,000 customers without power.
It said additional crews were being brought in from other areas but icy conditions hampered access to the affected regions.
The ice also resulted in dangerous driving conditions and prompted some road closures, Abbotsford police said on Twitter.
An extreme cold alert remained in effect for Yoho and Kootenay parks, the Peace River region, North Coast and the South Klondike Highway, where Environment Canada says temperatures will feel as low as -45 C with the wind chill.
Police said the body a 10-year-old boy from British Columbia was found Thursday after the vehicle he was in crashed and sank into Arrow Lake in southeastern B.C.
The crash was one of many on southern B.C. highways since Wednesday when storms began bringing snow, freezing rain and extreme cold to the southern Interior and some northern regions.
The boy had been missing since Wednesday when the vehicle veered off Highway 23 in snowy and icy conditions.
The 37-year-old driver and an 11-year-old girl were able to get out before the car sank and were treated for minor injuries.
Sgt. Monty Taylor with the Kootenay Boundary Regional District RCMP said the cause of the crash is under investigation and the coroner is also investigating.
The name of the boy will not be released.
“This is a tragic end to a family’s holiday season, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and their extended network of family and friends,” Taylor said in a news release.