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City prepares for possible early February snowfall

February 2 2017

City of Vancouver salt bay

We are preparing for another possible snowfall, anticipated at this time to begin as early as Friday morning.

We are monitoring the weather reports 24 hours a day from:

  • Environment Canada
  • A more localized private service called WeatherNet
  • Local meteorologists from local news outlets

How we are preparing the roads for future snow and ice

Our crews keep major routes safe by salting and brining them before any snow or freezing rain starts. The brine will activate when cars drive over the snow and helps the snow to melt. Salt is fully stocked in anticipation of possible needs.

Our priority locations for snow and ice removal are:

  • Major roads
  • Bus routes
  • Bridges
  • Emergency access routes (including five major hospitals and two health care facilities)
  • 15 most-used bike routes
  • Sidewalks around schools and hospitals

As of this morning, weather reports from WeatherNet and Environment Canada  present different forecasts. Environment Canada predicts as much as a 60% chance of snowfall for Metro Vancouver starting on Friday. WeatherNet, which provides more localized weather reporting for Vancouver specifically, predicts snow flurries turning to rain by Friday evening.

Our comprehensive and proactive snow response plan — including equipment numbers and staffing — is tied to the weather forecast. Given the variation in forecasts for tomorrow, and to ensure we are ready for whatever weather the coming week brings us, the full snow response fleet is being queued up to respond. We will be scaling back resources if there is less snowfall than anticipated.

Garbage and recycling collection

If it is snowy and icy over the weekend, our sanitation collection groups will be working closely with our street crews to get salt and sand poured on any icy residential lanes. We anticipate that if there is freezing, there may be some collection delays, as the areas serviced on Monday and Tuesday are the areas with the steepest laneways.

We are working closely with Multi-Material BC to further coordinate salting and sanding efforts to support recycling collection. If the weather results in collection delays, please leave your garbage, green bin, or recycling out as crews will be collecting it as soon as possible.

As freezing weather is anticipated to last for several days, please ensure that snow is removed from driveways and sidewalks as soon as it falls to prevent freezing.

Open warming centres

We will continue to provide additional warming centres for anyone who needs to get out of the cold as this unusually cold and snowy winter weather continues.

Three centres have been open since Tuesday, January 31 and are planned to remain open until Friday, February 3 or longer should the cold weather persist:

  • West End Community Centre (11:00pm - 6:30am)
  • Britannia Community Centre (10:00pm - 9:00am)
  • Carnegie Community Centre (11:00pm - 7:00am)

What you can do to prepare for snow and ice

The clearing of sidewalks by residents and businesses is a vital part of ensuring that the city is navigable by all people. While salt helps to break up ice and snow, it is not a replacement for snow removal.

We strongly recommend that you:

  • Lay salt down on sidewalks and driveways prior to the snowfall. This will help to melt the ice and make it easier to remove.
  • Shovel new snow as soon as possible to prevent build up and melting into an ice crust. While you have until 10:00am until after a snowfall to shovel sidewalks in front of your property, getting out early before the morning commute will help ensure snow isn’t packed down, and will make it easier to remove.
  • Provide help to neighbours who cannot clear their own sidewalks, if you are able. Consider registering to become a Snow Angel.
  • Wear proper winter footwear to guard against slippery sidewalks. Use main roads when possible as they tend to have less snow and ice than residential and side streets.
  • If you choose to drive, ensure your car has winter tires. Take care on neighbourhood streets and drive for the conditions.

Report snow and ice

If an area requires attention, report it easily:

We are monitoring incoming requests to identify problem areas and dispatching crews to address issues.