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Snow in Metro Vancouver highways on Jan. 15, 2020.

Large parts of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley are expected to see "significant snow" on Tuesday, according to a new warning from Environment Canada.

The weather agency said anywhere from five to 20 centimetres of snow is expected to fall across B.C.'s South Coast beginning on Tuesday morning.

"The air will be cool, but not truly Arctic, so snowfall amounts will vary with proximity to the water, elevation and intensity of precipitation," Environment Canada said Monday in a 4:12 p.m. warning.

The warning applies to the Metro Vancouver municipalities of Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Surrey, Langley, Richmond and Delta, as well as the Fraser Valley municipalities of Chilliwack, Hope and Abbotsford.

"The highest amounts are expected over the northern and inland sections of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley where the snow will persist the longest, until Tuesday night or Wednesday morning."

On the Sunshine Coast and in the southwestern parts of Metro Vancouver, forecasters are expecting the snow to give way to rain in the afternoon or evening.

Environment Canada said motorists who are out during the snowfall should be ready to adjust their driving to changing road conditions.

"Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become difficult to navigate due to accumulating snow. There may be a significant impact on rush hour traffic in urban areas," the agency said.

Extreme weather response

With colder temperatures on the way, the City of Vancouver issued an extreme weather alert that will be in place starting on Monday and continuing through Wednesday.

While the alert is in place, the city will open warming centres and extra shelter spaces.

Warming centres include:

  • Powell Street Getaway at 528 Powell St.
  • Britannia Community Centre at 1739 Venables St.
  • Overdose Prevention Society at 58 East Hastings St.
  • Vancouver Aquatic Centre at 1050 Beach Ave.

Extra shelter spaces will be open at:

  • Directions Youth Services Centre at 1138 Burrard St.
  • Evelyne Saller Centre at 320 Alexander St.
  • The Salvation Army Belkin House at 555 Homer St.
  • Walton Hotel Amenity Space at 261-B East Hastings St.
  • Tenth Church at 11 10th Ave. W
  • First Baptist Church at 969 Burrard St. 

"All are welcome and people can bring their carts and pets," the City of Vancouver said in a tweet. "People with their own bedding may choose to sleep over and hot drinks and snacks are available."