North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring posted this photo to Facebook, of a road-clearing truck stuck in a ditch in North Cowichan. (Facebook photo)

Cowichan Valley buried at epicentre of snowstorms

Cowichan Valley can expect lots more snow this week

The debate has begun: which was worse, the winter of 1996 or February, 2019?

Some argue we got more snow, and faster, back in 1996. They are right. But the snow is sticking around longer this year, others say. Four days or so into this blast of winter, as of Tuesday morning, there looks to be no relief in sight. Short breaks in the falling snow last just long enough for folks to get out and shovel before it starts up again. Thus far roughly 45 cm of snow has blanketed the greater Duncan area with more or less falling in nearby communities, depending which direction you go. Wherever you go, however, crews are scrambling to keep the roads clear — with varying levels of success depending on who you ask.

“We’re tracking a record-breaking year,” said Armel Castellan of Environment Canada Tuesday at noon. “You guys in the Cowichan Valley have been right at the epicentre of it all.”

It snowed enough in the Cowichan Valley on Sunday that even the municipal crews tasked with removing it had trouble.

And the snow just keeps coming.

Castellan said we’ve been whalloped by two styles of snowfall: the classic, in which high level areas take a real hit, but there’s also “ocean effect snow” which follows cold outflow winds and which has been pummeling the eastern side of Vancouver Island.

The Valley has averaged about 20 cm in this most recent fall but officially Cobble Hill has seen 22 cm; Chemainus, 30 cm; Shawnigan Lake, 33 cm; Duncan, 35 cm; and Ladysmith, 45 cm.

On Monday alone, Duncan saw 10-12 cm while the Malahat saw 22 cm of snowfall, Castellan said.

If this February is heading for the “snowiest ever” title, then 2014 was second, he said. It blasted past even such February weather as folks experienced back around 1910-20: notoriously white winters.

As for the Blizzard of ‘96: that was 100 cm of snow over two and a half days: a huge fall but not in February, he said.

Castellan pointed out that this is “a fairly late arctic intrusion not interspersed with rain” which is uncommon here.

“Usually, the rain comes and we get into a slushfest,” he said. “However, the pulses from the Pacific haven’t been enough to do that this time.”

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring posted to Facebook a photo of a municipal truck stuck in the ditch at the intersection of Castley and Cowichan Lake Roads on Sunday evening, calling it “another indication of how sketchy the roads are,” and acknowledging that “yes… this appears to be one of ours.”

According to the Weather Network, 16 cm of snow fell on Duncan on Sunday — well short of the one-day record for February of 33 cm, set in 1989.

Most schools, both public and private, were closed on Monday and again Tuesday due to winter conditions.

The Malahat was also closed for a period of time on Sunday, and was limited to a single lane in each direction on Monday.

“If you have to drive, have your winter tires and chains and drive to conditions,” Mainroad cautioned.

Current road conditions can be found on drivebc.ca or at @DriveBC on Twitter.

Island Health spokesperson Maribeth Burton said Cowichan District Hospital is in “good shape” in spite of the weather.

“Our hospital is busy but we never turn people away,” she noted. “We are seeing a couple of injuries related to motor vehicle crashes.”

Burton reminded that people who want to see a doctor but who do not have an emergency medical condition should not head to the hospital’s emergency department.

Meanwhile, over at Averill Creek, staff made the most out of their sloped vineyard.

Weather will start to change Thursday, according to Environment Canada.

“We’ll possibly see snow that day but it could switch to rain. It’s a very tricky forecast,” Castellan said, adding a warning for residents to watch out for problems caused by extra-heavy snow.

“This will get very soupy and messy. There will be move weight on roofs, and there will be lots of drainage issues, with localized flooding,” he said.

Just Posted

North Cowichan to pause all logging in forest reserve for 2019

Municipality expects decision to cause $150,000 shorfall this year

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Easton, goalies help Isles lock up home ice

Isles open playoffs at Kerry Park next Tuesday

Lake Cowichan warms up with Harlequin Dance on snowy weekend

With music, costumes, great decorations, food, there’s a good time for all at the 50+ Centre

VIDEO: Get those tickets now for Tom Cochrane in Duncan

You know the songs, now reconnect with the man himself

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Coming up in Cowichan: Estuary fundraiser, landlord info and more

Chance for landlords to learn about their rights and responsibilities The Cowichan… Continue reading

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

Cowichan Coffee Time: New faces and chipping in

• Duncan resident Gianpierro (GP) Denomme is the newest volunteer member of… Continue reading

Most Read