Start thinking about winter preparedness now, says City of Vancouver
VANCOUVER - It may be a sunny and relatively warm fall in Vancouver, but the city says it’s time to start thinking about snow and ice.
“We’ve been preparing for winter weather for months,” said Erin Hoess, manager of street operation for the City of Vancouver. “We have staff operating 24/7 and approximately 100 trucks and mobile equipment ready to respond at any moment.”
On top of those 100 units, the Vancouver Park Board has added an additional 30 units to its fleet of smaller vehicles, too. The City has also renewed its supply contract for salt. About 2,000 tonnes is stocked at National Yard, and there’s a guaranteed supply of an extra 8,000 tonnes through the season.
“We use, on average, about 5,000 tonnes a year," Hoess said. "So we have double what we need."
There have already been a handful of near-freeze days in October, with clear skies and low overnight temperatures. Environment Canada meteorologist Matt MacDonald says looking ahead, there’s no clear picture on what winter will look like.
“This is the kind of winter where we don’t have a lot of confidence in the seasonal forecast, anything can go,” MacDonald told CTV News Vancouver. “We're expecting neutral conditions, so that doesn’t really stack the cards in favour of quiet or stormy, we’ll just have to see how it plays out.”
The uncertainty is what could cause issues for the city.
“Our biggest challenge is actually the weather we’re not expecting,” said Hoess. “So we’re continually monitoring the forecast, but every once in a while the forecast actually throws us for a bit of a loop.”
For now, residents can start getting ready with winter tires, taking care on side streets and having salt and shovels ready.
The city is also looking for more people to become “Snow Angels” – volunteers who help clear snow and ice for seniors and people with limited mobility.