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Toronto and Vancouver airports warn of operational impacts today due to weather

Toronto expecting plummeting temperatures, a flash freeze and blizzard-like conditions Friday
An Air Canada aircraft is de-iced at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022. A major winter storm bearing down on Toronto is adding to the calamity in Canadian airports already plagued by flight cancellations and delays set off early this week by heavy snow in Vancouver.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A weather system of heavy snow and bitter cold that paralyzed Vancouver’s airport and caused a cascade of disruptions earlier this week could lift by Christmas Eve, but travellers will first have to endure more storms that could affect airports in B.C. and Ontario.

An update from Vancouver International Airport says conditions have improved slightly as flights are “steadily arriving and departing,” but the airport was still advising travellers to check with their airline for the latest flight information.

It was also maintaining its halt to all incoming international arrivals until Friday morning so it could clear the congestion on the tarmac.

Difficulties linked to Tuesday’s storm remain an issue at Victoria International Airport as a post from the International Civil Aviation Organization says two runways are still closed due to snow.

Officials at the Vancouver airport say they’re doing everything they can to prepare for more severe weather starting late Thursday, including an estimated 10 centimetres of snow.

That could be followed by freezing rain and then, as icy temperatures ease, 10 or more millimetres of rain on Saturday.

Environment Canada predicts temperatures at the airport will spike to 8 C on Saturday, after dipping to -12.9 C on Wednesday.

“Passengers should expect delays and cancellations as a result of the incoming weather system,” the airport says in its latest statement.

Officials were working to arrange a possible news conference with YVR’s president and CEO, Tamara Vrooman, regarding plans to deal with the upcoming storm and handle the backlog of passengers who have been stranded for days.

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport is also bracing for an incoming winter storm, having already cautioned that operations could be affected, while Environment Canada warned of possible power outages and dangerous travel conditions.

The weather office says Toronto’s storm will begin with rain near midnight followed by plummeting temperatures, a potential flash freeze and blizzard-like conditions Friday.

That’s expected to add to the calamity created by weather-related delays and cancellations at airports across southern B.C. and in Calgary.

Hundreds of Air Canada and WestJet flights have been grounded since Sunday because of the conditions.

The winter storm forecast for Ontario also prompted the postponement of the Ottawa Senators’ game Friday night against the Detroit Red Wings.

Senators president of business operations Anthony LeBlanc says in a statement the safety of “players, fans, staff and those working at the arena is our first priority.”

The game has been rescheduled to Monday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. ET.

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