Vancouver Island could see up to 20 cm of snow in the next 24 hours, winter storm watch issued

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WatchAs much as 20 cm of snow is expected for many parts of Vancouver Island in the next 24 hours according to Environment and Climate Change Canada. Skye Ryan has more.

From where 7-year-old Owen Palmer-Lawson stood Tuesday — crazy carpet in hand while at the top of a snow hill — the unrelenting snowstorms hitting Vancouver Island were a gift from above.

“This is super fun,” said Palmer-Lawson, a Nanaimo resident.

Nanaimo has received a staggering 60 to 80 cm in snow accumulations across the city since Christmas. It has allowed Palmer-Lawson’s grandparents to transform their usually green grass, palm tree-lined yard, into a sledding track in front and an ice rink in back.

“Well, we had the perfect combination of snowfall and temperatures. So every night we’d get out here and then we’d pack it down with a good old-fashioned garden hose,” said Debra Palmer, a Nanaimo resident.

It has been tough for those who were still digging out Tuesday. Environment and Climate Change Canada is calling for as much as 20 centimetres of the white stuff in many parts of Vancouver Island, including Nanaimo, and has issued a winter storm watch for most of the Island region.

Jess Eby filled up sandbags being offered up free at the Nanaimo Public Works yard, to weigh down his delivery van. Eby drives daily between Port Alberni and Maple Bay for work and said the roads have been scary of late.

“There’s just a lot of places you can’t get to. It’s so slippery,” he said.

Even in Nanaimo roads conditions have been treacherous. Many side streets were still snow-covered, and according to road crews say they had been flat out working around the clock since Christmas Eve trying to clear and the main routes.

“We’ve had crews out 24 hours a day since Christmas eve, some of them are still waiting for Christmas,” said Dave Thompson, manager of roads for the City of Nanaimo.

According to officials, it is extremely unusual for Vancouver Island to receive so much snow so early in the winter.

“With climate change, who knows what the future is going to bring. This is an unanticipated event for the city. It’s definitely not the usual,” said Thompson.

Fortunately, it appears that after the next storm, Environment Canada said the Island should be in for a break.

“I think it’s the end of these really heavy accumulations down to sea level. Especially in the mid-North Island,” said Environment Canada Meteorologist Doug Lundquist.

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