City of Vancouver, TransLink readying for snow

With freezing temperatures and the possibility of between five and 10 centimetres of snow in the forecast, the city of Vancouver wants residents to know it is ready.

In an information bulletin sent out Thursday morning, the city said crews have been out brining and salting “priority response locations” and are prepared to start salting and plowing roads if the forecasted flurries materialize

“The extent of snowfall accumulations in Vancouver remains uncertain for tonight and over the next few days, but staff and equipment have been readied for 24-hour deployment[1] if required,” the bulletin reads.

If it snows, priorities for plowing include arterial roads, bus routes, bridges, emergency routes, school routes and priority bike lanes.

“We also prioritize bus stops, arterial corner ramps and pedestrian pathways along the seawall and Arbutus Greenway.”

The city also had some strong recommendations for drivers — take weather and road conditions into account, and use winter tires that display the three-peaked mountain and snowflakes symbol, or the mud and snow (M+S) symbol, with at least 3.5 millimetres of tread.

As always, residents and business owners are reminded that they play a big role in ensuring snow and ice doesn’t become hazardous, especially for those with mobility challenges.

All property owners and occupants must clear snow and ice from sidewalks around their property by 10 a.m. the morning after a snowfall, seven days a week.

“It’s important that snow is cleared promptly from walkways and sidewalks before it hardens to ice.”

Residents who are unable to clear the sidewalks around their property, and have no other alternatives, are encouraged to sign up for the city’s Snow Angel program, which connects volunteers with seniors and people with mobility issues to help clear their sidewalks following a snowfall.

Matt MacDonald, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, spoke to Vancouver Is Awesome about what locals should expect over the coming week[2]

“We will be struggling to get up to 3°C over the next few days,” MacDonald said. “But true arctic air will reach the coast on Sunday.”

MacDonald reports that temperatures could dip as low as -10°C Monday, with a chilly daytime high of -1°C. Further, blustery winds will make temperatures feel decidedly colder. 

“Monday and Tuesday will see some strong easterly winds move through the Fraser Valley,” he explains.

MacDonald adds that blustery 40 km/h winds can make -9°C or -10°C temperatures feel as cold as -20.

With temperatures expected to dip into that sub-zero territory in the coming days, the city is also planning on opening warming centres and additional shelter spaces for people sleeping outside.

Powell Street Gateway, which is next to Oppenheimer Park, is already open and will remain open every night until Jan. 15.

Warming centre locations include:

Jan. 12 – 14

Britannia Community Centre (Hours: 9 p.m. to 8:30 am)

Vancouver Aquatic Centre (Hours: 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.)

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