Snow buries Lake area

The Town of Lake Cowichan is managing to cope with the snowiest winter Vancouver Island has seen in years.

Snow blankets the Cowichan Lake area after a succession of winter storms has dumped as much as 49 centimetres of the white stuff since late last week.

Snow blankets the Cowichan Lake area after a succession of winter storms has dumped as much as 49 centimetres of the white stuff since late last week.

The Town of Lake Cowichan is managing to cope with the snowiest winter Vancouver Island has seen in years.

“We’ve had quite the snow this year,” Town of Lake Cowichan CAO Joe Fernandez said on Tuesday afternoon. “It’s finally stopped. Hopefully.”

Amounts measured as much as 49 centimetres in some areas.

Snow removal has been the town’s biggest challenge, obviously, but Fernandez said they’re getting by.

“We’ve done pretty good,” he said. “For having a small crew, we’ve done amazingly well. The odd individual might think differently. We’ve come to expect that not everyone will be happy when things come down as they have.”

Generally, there are four or five dedicated public works employees available to clear the streets, depending on what else needs to be done, such as garbage collection.

“Usually they do other stuff, but they’ve been concentrating on snow removal,” Fernandez explained.

Many hours of overtime were put in last weekend as well, he noted.

Most of Lake Cowichan had been cleared as of Tuesday afternoon, Fernandez said, with the exception of some side streets.

“Otherwise, the town is fully taken care of,” he said.

Environment and Climate Change Canada has forecast that another low pressure system will hit the Cowichan Valley and the rest of the Island Wednesday night, bringing up to 10 to 15 additional centimetres of snow on top of what is already on the ground.

Meteorologist Armel Castellan said that more snow is expected to start falling on Wednesday afternoon, transitioning to rain on Thursday morning, with a chance of freezing rain in between. Between 20-40 mm of precipitation is anticipated.

“There will be a rain-on-snow event, and then temperatures will go much closer to seasonal norms,” Castellan said, adding that residents should expect lows around 0 C and highs around 4-6 C.

Meteorologist Matt MacDonald said that 78 centimetres of snow have been recorded at the Nanaimo Airport, the nearest official weather station to the Cowichan Valley that is used by Environment Canada, since the snow began to fall in December.

Fernandez would like to see the snowy weather come to an end soon.

“We’re hoping, but we’re prepared for the worst if it happens,” he said. “We’ll cope, as long as no other emergencies fall our way.”

With files from Robert Barron