If you woke up in University Heights, above Vancouver Island University Friday, you woke up in a winter wonderland. Several centimetres of snow hit the region.
Plows cleared roads and some people opted to shovel their driveways even though temperatures were expected to warm mid-day.
“[It’s] good exercise. [I] don’t have to go to the gym. People pay money for this,” said Wayne Chalker, one of those shovelling.
But at lower elevations, there wasn’t nearly as much snow.
Downtown Nanaimo saw no snow and in north Nanaimo, there were some accumulations but generally more of the slushy stuff.
For some, the snow is a welcome sight.
“Amazing. I like it. I just went for a walk. It’s fresh. It’s cool and I just love it,” said Mira Shayan, a Nanaimo resident.
Much of Port Alberni was also covered in snow.
“Today elevation made a lot of difference and it didn’t take much to change from snow to rain so for example along [Highway] 19 we saw it snowing and along 19a we saw it raining in spots,” said Chris Cowley, Assistant General Manager of Mainroad’s mid-island contract.
The Inland Island Highway was treacherous as points with plows trying to keep up when it was snowing heavily.
The conditions a factor in an ambulance flipping on the highway south of Cook Creek late morning. Fortunately, no patient was aboard and the ambulance crew was uninjured.
The highways contractor says by mid-day, after the snow turned to rain, they were able to clear roads quickly.
This is just a first taste of what’s coming with Environment Canada predicting colder temperatures and more snow coming next week.
“All our salt sheds are stocked up. Our fleet’s ready to go. We had a good test this morning so everything worked out well as far as equipment and stockpiles go and we’re ready for the next one,” said Cowley.
Cowley says drivers should have snows on their vehicles for safety as winter weather arrives in earnest on the south coast.