Feb. 12, 2019 – A snowfall warning remains in effect for much of the B.C. south coast region on Tuesday, prompting a second day of snow closures.
Snowfall warning continued
Environment Canada issued its third snowfall warning in as many days, warning of an additional 10 centimetres of snowfall in Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge and the North Shore.
“This second disturbance off southwest Vancouver Island is spreading snow to virtually the entire South Coast this morning,” read the warning.
“Further accumulations of 5 to 10 centimetres can be expected in most areas. The snowfall will gradually taper off this afternoon into the early evening as low centre weakens.”
TransLink preparing for second day of crowds
Following a Monday of packed SkyTrain platforms and longer than usual bus waits, TransLink is asking riders to allow for extra travel time on Tuesday morning.
“We have added additional staff throughout the transit system to assist with customers and operations, and have salted and sanded transit exchanges,” read a TransLink service update issued around 6:20 a.m.
Morning bus service is operating with “slight modifications” and riders are asked to check TransLink’s site for specific route detours. A number of articulated buses have been replaced with 40-foot buses to allow for better traction; this will, however, lead to increased crowding in some areas.
In a 10:40 a.m. update, TransLink said the Expo and Millennium Lines are running at a slight higher than normal capacity though “extreme cold and ice building is causing issues with SkyTrain’s track intrusion system.”
“To ensure safety, and reduce delays and unnecessary emergency braking of trains, we’ve turned off the intrusion system and are redeploying SkyTrain attendants from station platforms to staff all trains.”
HandyDart service is only operating for essential services such as renal and cancer patients, while SeaBus and the West Coast Express is operating normally.
Drivers told to be wary of Highway 1 conditions
Anyone daring to drive Highway 1 – let alone get behind the wheel of a vehicle today – will need to be extra cautious.
Conditions along Highway 1 are poor, with low visibility due to high winds and slippery conditions. Those who managed to make it down the span reported seeing a number of cars sidelined or spun-out on the highway.
All Metro Vancouver school districts closed
All school districts in Metro Vancouver were closed on Tuesday morning, following overnight snowfall.
While the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district had initially announced their schools would be open, district officials quickly reversed the decision and said their schools would also close for a snow day.
Rotating crews to keep airport runways clear
Over at Vancouver International Airport, rotating snow crews were working continuously on both the north and south runways to ensure safe landings and departures.
“Deicing times may take longer on first wave of departing flights today as crews clear snow from aircraft accumulated during the overnight period,” read their 7 a.m. weather update.
Runway conditions on Tuesday morning were “bare and wet which is optimal for takeoffs and landings.”
As usual, passengers were reminded to check with their individual airlines for updates and allow extra time to make their way through the airport and security.
Over on Vancouver Island, a power outage hit Victoria International Airport sometime around 8 a.m., forcing the terminal to rely on a backup generator. Power was restored to the airport just before 10 a.m.
Ferry sailings delayed due to staffing challenges
B.C. Ferries staff are also struggling to get to work in the snow, resulting in delays on certain sailings due to inadequate levels of staffing.
As of 7:46 a.m., the MV Klitsa was holding in dock at Brentwood Bay due to a staffing issue, while the Queen of Cumberland (Victoria-Southern Gulf Islands) was operating 47 minutes behind schedule.
The MV Kuper departing Thetis Island was also 35 minutes delayed for its first sailing of the day due to snow removal.
Reddit video captures dangerous chaos of icy West End hill
All the snow has caused chaos on the roads and an example of that madness is captured in a hilarious-but-scary 8:00-minute video shared to reddit.com/r/vancouver on Monday evening
The video, which appears to have been filmed by a resident inside the Nicola Place tower, shows a number of individuals try to make their way up and down Pantages Lane, located between Nicola and Broughton streets in Vancouver’s West End.
The perilously icy hill has vehicles parked on both sides and it seems no one is immune to drifting, sliding and losing their traction – including one truck who slides backwards into the intersection and nearly clips a cyclist. Pedestrians can be seen flailing as they realize they are about to fall, and at least two vehicles sideswipe a parked car – the same parked car – as they move through the laneway.
This page will be updated as the day continues.
More to come.