Slippery roads as Vancouver Island digs out from weekend storm

Slippery roads as Vancouver Island digs out from weekend storm

Heavy snow falls in Nanaimo on Feb. 10, 2019. (Sarah Penner).

Heavy snow falls in Nanaimo on Feb. 10, 2019. (Sarah Penner).

Forty centimetres of snow fell on parts of Vancouver Island Sunday, bringing dangerous conditions to the roads.

Environment Canada said the Nanaimo area saw 20 to 40 centimetres and the Ladysmith area saw 40 cm.

Thirty-five centimetres fell in Duncan, 33 cm in Shawnigan Lake, 30 cm in Chemainus, 22 cm in Cobble Hill, 30 cm in Mill Bay and 30 cm at the Malahat Summit.

There was also 24 cm in North Cowichan, 20 cm in the Cowichan Valley, 20 cm in Union Bay, 15 cm on Salt Spring Island, 18 cm in Qualicum Beach, nine to 12 cm in Campbell River, 17 cm at the Victoria airport, 10 cm in Saanich, 10 cm in north Courtenay, 10 cm on Saturna Island and 7 cm in Port Alberni.

Mainroad said the mid-Island region experienced significant snowfall, in some cases exceeding twice what was in the forecast.

Crews have been focusing their efforts on the main routes and bus/commerical routes during the past 18 hours to keep those roads open. They will now be shifting to residential and side roads with hill areas receiving priority.

“Please be patient as we work through the service area, if we haven’t responded to your road yet we will as soon as possible. Please also be aware that Mainroad does not remove snowbanks from residential driveways, this is the responsibility of the property owner the access services. This is an unavoidable part of winter maintenance. Please do not plow your driveway snow out onto the road surface as this creates a hazard for other motorists,” Mainroad said in a statement.

“Motorists should be aware that removal of compact snow involves the application of salt or salt brine to facilitate melting which will create slushy conditions for a period of time as the salt works. The final stage of cleanup is plowing off the slush once the melt is complete. Some residential roads will have hills, corners and intersections sanded.”

Mainroad also said they are expecting another 10-15 cm in their north service area. More snow is expected across most of Vancouver Island starting Monday afternoon.

Road Closures

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said Highway 14 west of Sooke is still closed in both directions due to fallen tees and downed power lines. The closure begins at Otter Point Road, east of Sooke, and extends to Port Renfrew. For people in Port Renfrew and west of the Jordan River, access to the Greater Victoria area is available through the Pacific Marine Cricle Route.

Weather dependent, the portion of the highway should reopen later this week.

CFB Esquimalt Closed

Capt. Jason Boyd, base commander of CFB Esquimalt, said the base is closed due to current inclement weather conditions, which is making road travel hazardous. The base will reduce to minimum manning or critical personnel. The closure includes the CANEX, the museum and the Naden Athletic Centre.

BC Ferries Delays

As of Monday morning, there is one sailing delay due to weather. The MV Klitsa on the Brentwood Bay-Mill Bay route is currently operating 40 minutes behind schedule due to snow removal.

Harbour Air and Helijet

The weather is affecting Harbour Air flights but Helijet says all flights are operating on time.

Power Outages

Meanwhile, some Vancouver Island residents are still without power after a windstorm on Saturday. There are 945 customers without power in BC Hydro’s south Vancouver Island region and 232 customers in the north region. Not all the outages are due to the windstorm but residents are asked to check the BC Hydro website to find their outage.


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