Snowstorm roundup: Snowfall warnings lifted for Vancouver Island

Snowfall warnings for eastern Vancouver Island, the Southern Gulf Islands and Greater Victoria have been lifted. 

Rain is in the forecast for much of the Island, but some areas — including Nanaimo — could see wet snow tonight.

The Island could see five to 10 centimetres of snow by Friday morning. Lower amounts are expected elsewhere.

The rain, combined with warming temperatures, may lead to increased snow melt and added weight to structures, as well as poor drainage and slushy roadways. Full story here.

There are already worries that a fast melt could lead to a surge in flooded basements around the region, and wet snow/rain could make power outages more likely.

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The commercial chain-up is no longer in effect on the Malahat.

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Canada Post is trying to catch up on mail delivery due to a temporary service disruption related to the snow storm.

On Tuesday, Canada Post cancelled delivery of all mail and packages, and some carriers were unable to make deliveries other days. Full story here.

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The Royal Jubilee and Victoria General hospitals in Greater Victoria were experiencing higher than normal volumes in emergency rooms with more patients coming in with fractures from falls and injuries related to vehicle accidents, along with complex care patients that can’t get into doctors offices or clinics.

If people need urgent care they are right to head to the emergency room but if they can seek help through a medical clinic or through B.C.’s HealthLinkBC at 811 they are encouraged to do so, said Island Health spokeswoman Meribeth Burton.

“And if this is your only option, because there are some walk-in clinics that are closed, please be patient because we are going to have long wait times,” she said. Full story

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The heavy snow and cold is making it hard for some birds to find food.

Bird experts have some tips for helping out our feathered friends:

  • Put out suet and black oil sunflower seeds
  • Increase the sugar content of hummingbird food to one part sugar to three parts water

While you're outside, you might want to knock the snow off some of those bushes, as cedar hedges, camellias and rhododendrons are all at risk of losing branches.

And speaking of flowers… Florists and others who do brisk business for Valentine's Day were a bit concerned by the effect Tuesday's snow day had on business, as well as what it might mean for deliveries. Read Jack Knox's take on it here.

Weather

The capital region has seen the snowiest February since record keeping started at Victoria airport in 1941. February has already seen 56 centimetres of snowfall, beating the previous mark of 39.4 cm in 2014. Full story

Road conditions

Travel advisories on Vancouver Island highways were lifted on Wednesday. However, winter driving conditions still exist, with compact snow and slippery sections on many highways.

Highway 14 has reopened after being closed for several days due to fallen trees, downed power lines and hazardous road conditions between Otter Point Road and Port Renfrew.

 

Schools

All schools are back in session after several snow days. More information here. Friday is a professional development day for capital region schools. Schools will also be closed Monday for Family Day.

Colleges/universities

The University of Victoria, Royal Roads University, Camosun College and Vancouver Island University were all open Thursday.

Power outages

B.C. Hydro has been dealing with a number of power outages this week, and spokesman Ted Olynyk said the worst might be yet to come. When it warms up and rains, snow-covered tree branches become heavy or freeze, bringing down branches over power lines.

“Ideally, we want to see a nice steady melt to the branches,” he said. “But what we’ve seen in the past, if rain happens or heavy snow, branches already heavily laden with snow and trees could fall and come in contact with our power lines.”

The utility says it's hard to predict damage, but it has some tips for customers so they can prepare:

 

To report an outage, call 1-800-BCHYDRO. 

Transit

B.C. Transit was largely back to regular service Friday, with only route still affected by snowy routes. See service alerts here

B.C. Ferries

B.C. Ferries noted that a wind warning had been issued for the Howe Sound area, and that road conditions were still icy in some areas, urging passengers to take care.

For updates: bcferries.com | @bcferries

Airports and flights

There were a few delays and cancellations at Victoria International Airport Friday morning:

Recycling

Crews are attempting to collect blue box recycling today. Due to continued poor weather and road conditions from recent snowfall, a best effort attempt will be made based on the condition of the roads, sidewalks and driveways.

All routes were cancelled Tuesday, and some routes were cancelled last Friday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Residents are advised to bring recyclables inside if their homes are missed and save them for their next collection day.

Depots where recycling can be dropped off for free are at crd.bc.ca/bluebox.

localnews@timescolonist.com

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