20-centimetre snowfall predicted in Vancouver
Vancouver is bracing for its first major snowfall of the season and the city says it's prepared for whatever Mother Nature brings now, and during the Olympics in February.
Flurries are being reported across Metro Vancouver, and Environment Canada is expected to issue a snowfall warning later today for overnight Monday and early Tuesday.
The agency expects sporadic flurries to continue on Sunday, with just a few centimetres of snow accumulating. Temperatures are expected to hover around the freezing mark, with a low of -3 Celsius in the evening.
But the real action begins on Monday. Forecasters are predicting around 20 centimetres of snow to fall by Tuesday morning.
"Tuesday morning's commute is probably going to be trouble," said Environment Canada forecaster John McIntyre.
Murray Wightman, Vancouver's manager of street operations, says more than a dozen trucks are out salting the roads right now and are ready for what may come over the next 48 hours.
He says the city has 51 trucks of various sizes, ready to salt and plow the streets as needed.
The city also has plans in place to clear the streets during the Olympics in February, including a new, bigger snowblower ready for battle.
Private contractors will also be called upon to handle snow removal at Olympic venues, Wightman said.
"We want to make sure the people and the athletes get to their venues," he said.
Last year Vancouver was walloped by six winter storms in December alone that dumped nearly 90 centimetres of snow.
Break out the shovel -- or else
Vancouver has also made bylaw changes requiring sidewalks to be cleared of snow and ice by 10 a.m. each day. That responsibility falls on property and business owners.
Residents who fail to adhere to the law could face a fine of up to $2,000.
They could also receive a seperate bill if city workers come and clear the sidewalk for them.
On Thursday, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said the snow woes of winter 2008 would not be repeated.
"The problems that emerged in last year's big snow we're very conscious of how we're going to manage those if they do accumulate in those kinds of numbers this year," Robertson said.
With files from The Canadian Press