Stepping as quietly in the deep snow as she could Monday, Brenda Hannah pointed to the Roosevelt elk herd bedded down behind her Ladysmith area home.
“They’re gigantic, they’re so majestic,” Hannah, a rural Ladysmith-area resident, told CHEK News.
She said the more than 30 animals showed up and appeared to be looking for food after recent back-to-back snowstorms on Vancouver Island.
“That’s where their home is up in the mountains, so with the amount of snowfall and such, they’ve had to come down. Just like anything, they’ve come down to find food to survive,” said Hannah.
But the mountain snow seems to have followed. A surprise snowfall Monday hit East Vancouver Island, covering roads nearly as quickly as snowplows could clear them in Nanaimo and surrounding areas.
The weather quickly changed the plans of Nanaimo tree grower Mike Gogo, who was about to start planting thousands of seedlings beginning March 1. Ribbons already mark the ground they’re bound for, but heavy snow has buried that ground under 20 centimetres of white and counting.
“Well, you can’t fight nature because nature always wins. We want to make sure that the conditions are ideal, so they have the best chance of reforestation,” said Gogo, who operates a sawmill and Christmas Tree Farm on the outskirts of Nanaimo.
The Malahat highway was the next to get snow, creating challenging driving conditions for motorists by early Monday afternoon.
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“It is going to be accumulating particularly for Nanaimo, the Malahat highway could see up to 15 centimetres,” said Environment Canada Meteorologist Armel Castellan.
The storm that has hit on the doorstep of spring is forecast to keep dropping snow right into Tuesday, and meteorologists warn it could deliver a few more blows of winter through the week.
“You know we’ll have to get through these next few days and look hopefully towards mid-March before things can get much closer to normal, if not above normal,” added Castellan.
Temperatures and the Roosevelt elk herd should return to where they’re more expected to be in spring.