Vancouver Island is bracing for what could be a powerful winter storm this weekend and it has residents scrambling to get ready.
Most of the Island is under a winter storm and snowfall warning, issued by Environment Canada, and the weather agency says we could see up to 30 centimetres in some areas, including Greater Victoria.
“We are planning for worst-case scenario, 20-30 centimetres,” said Andrew Gaetz of Emcon Services.
“Expecting to see it start late tonight and continue on late tomorrow and probably into the midday. We are supposed to get moderate to intense heavy snowfalls.”
For drivers, it could be a treacherous time behind the wheel.
“It’s definitely going to make for adverse driving conditions and it’s going to plug things up and things like that. We will stay on top of it as best we can. We have over 3000 kilometres in our contract and we cycle through the roads in priority.”
Stores carrying items like snow shovels and ice started seeing their inventory fly off the shelves.
“Ice melt, shovels, sleds, scrapers. Constantly increasing sales all day,” said Al Butler of Oak Bay Home Hardware.
“As it gets colder and, if there is a bit of snow, it will get much worse. My only advice would be to come and get it early because we might sell out.”
The last-minute rush for winter tires had already kicked off yesterday.
“Yesterday was smoking busy, we were busy all day long. Today, we are still steady,” said Darcy Scullion of Tires Unlimited.
With Valentines Day and Family Day falling on this weekend and grocery stores already operating at limited capacity due to pandemic protocols, waits were long and items could be hard to find.
“It’s been crazy, it’s actually been bonkers here,” said Antone Nemet of Country Grocer Royal Oak.
“The hot ticket items we have: milk, butter, bread, eggs, all the canned goods, chocolates, we have flowers, beautiful bouquets and also Family Day coming up, so lots of treats and snacks getting bought.”
It comes at the end of a bitterly cold arctic outflow that saw temperatures plummet to the negative double digits yesterday.
“We’ve seen some spikes in the consumption across the province,” said BC Hydro’s Ted Olynyk.
“The record is 10,300 megawatts. We’ve been just over 10,000 lately…I’m sure we’ll see the numbers go up whether we break a record or not that depends.”
By Sunday, Vancouver Island could start to see warmer temperatures, but come next week there’s a chance the snow returns.