UPDATED with VIDEO: SNOW DAY! Cowichan grinds to a halt under a blanket of fluffy stuff

Schools closed, council meeting cancelled, and more…

The children are home from school today for the second time this week thanks to a large snowfall overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday as early on in the morning, it continued to accumulate. That includes all School District 79 schools, as well as Queen of Angels, Queen Margret’s, and Duncan Christian School, as well as Shawnigan Lake Community Centre’s preschool and childcare. The Nanaimo-Ladysmith and Gulf Islands schools are also closed. Not sure? Call before you go.

Also closed today are:

Hiiye’yu Lelum (House of Friendship), Sunrise Waldorf School and Vancouver Island University’s Cowichan, Nanaimo and Parksville campuses, the Clements- Sundrops Centre and Adult Community Inclusion programs, the Duncan Garage Cafe, and the Cowichan Tribes offices, schools and daycare. All Strong Start programs, Wendy’s House, Cowichan Preschool, Parkside Academy, Growing Together Child and Parent Society, Thrive Now Physiotherapy, Gibby’s Cafe, the Fishbowl Cafe, the Department of National Defence’s Esquimalt base, Pemberton Holmes Real Estate, Providence Farm as well as Island Return-It in both Cobble Hill and Duncan, Curvy Fashions, All offices, shops, fuel dock, Mariners Market & Espresso Bar, and The Shipyard Restaurant & Pub at Maple Bay Marina, Steps Ahead Dance, and Sheer Essentials Lingerie & Swim Mill Bay and Sheer Essentials Lingerie in Duncan. Also closed is the Bay Pub and PAN Disposal is not collecting today.

BC Transit has posted online that their buses in the Cowichan Valley system, including the commuter, would be suspended on Wednesday.

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring has confirmed this afternoon’s highly anticipated council meeting has been cancelled due to weather.

The municipality has also cancelled garbage pickup for Wednesday, citing snow.

Bings Creek, Meade Creek and Peerless Road recycling and garbage drop-off centres are closed pending snow removal. Check before you go to make sure they’ve been re-opened.

An Environment Canada snowfall warning, updated Wednesday morning at 5 a.m., said to expect even more snow, and then some ice.

“Snow from an approaching low pressure system will continue today and will intensify tonight. However, snow near sea level is expected to change to rain this evening as temperatures rise,” said the warning. “Additional snow accumulations of 5 to 15 cm can be expected before the snow changes to a few rain showers.”

SEE RELATED: Snow and cold expected to last through mid-week in Cowichan

Snow is also to blame for a power outage in the Cobble Hill area of south Cowichan.

BC Hydro also reports the power has been off for 886 customers since roughly 4:40 a.m. Wednesday. The outage affects those north of Pinder Place, south of the highway, and west of Gary Oak Road. Crews had the juice flowing by 7:50 a.m.

The B.C. Office of the Seniors Advocate would like to remind people that snowy sidewalks, steps and driveways pose risks for seniors, many of who may already experience mobility issues.

“I would ask everyone to watch out for the seniors in their lives and in their neighbourhoods. As the snow falls, please consider clearing the sidewalk and driveway, and perhaps salt the walkways for neighbours who are seniors,” said Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie.

Snowfall can also disrupt homecare services and the delivery of meals, groceries, and medications. “It would be helpful to check-in on your loved ones who may be facing additional challenges from the snow. If your neighbour is a senior, please knock on their door or give them a call to see if they are ok,” Mackenzie said.

Meanwhile, area volunteer fire departments are reminding residents to be prepared.

Sahtlam Fire asked some questions worthy of pause, recommending folks stay inside.

“”Is YOUR driveway clear? Can we get our fire engine or rescue truck in during an emergency? What about the ambulance? Consider these things, find your snow shovels, or employ an industrious individual in your neighbourhood for a few dollars and clear your driveways! The roads promise to be hazardous for the next couple of days. So remember, when in doubt, don’t go out!”

Mill Bay Fire Rescue says stay home.

“Unless you must be somewhere, please stay off the roads,” said the group’s Facebook page.

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Cowichan Valley residents awoke to the big dump of snow that was predicted for Wednesday morning. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

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