VANCOUVER — Wind chill values nudging -50 C cover much of northern British Columbia as Environment Canada says extreme cold and arctic outflow warnings have returned in many areas of the province.

The weather office says a very cold air mass stretches across parts of Yukon, northern, northeastern and southeastern B.C., with marginal improvement expected by Wednesday when winds are forecast to ease slightly.

Conditions along the north and central coast also feel as cold as -20 C due to the wind chill, while winter storm watches warn of up to 20 centimetres of snow over northern Vancouver Island and the central coast through Thursday.

Metro Vancouver was under a snowfall warning early Tuesday, with forecasters calling for “heavy flurries” and “sudden accumulations” at higher elevations.

Environment Canada also shows more snow is due across the Lower Mainland late Wednesday, possibly creating a challenging Thursday commute.

Avalanche Canada says danger ratings are high and backcountry travel is not recommended on areas of the south coast, Sea-to-Sky and Vancouver Island mountains blanketed by at least 100 centimetres of snow since New Year’s Day.

Snow slabs formed by the wind in exposed areas are “touchy,” Avalanche Canada says in a post on its website.

“These slabs may take some time to stabilize, as they sit on a weak snow surface formed during the cold spell,” the advisory says.

North Shore Rescue reports a small avalanche partially engulfed a skier in the backcountry on Hollyburn Mountain in West Vancouver on Monday.

The skier suffered a possibly broken leg, the rescue team says in the social media post. Volunteers loaded him on a stretcher and skied him to safety just before nightfall.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 4, 2022.

The Canadian Press