Surprising Metro Vancouver snowfall leads to messy commute
COQUITLAM, B.C. -- Well, that was a surprise.
A somewhat unexpected snowfall blanketed parts of the Lower Mainland Thursday morning.
Winter storm and snowfall warnings had been issued for some parts of the South Coast, including the Sea-to-Sky Highway passing through Whistler and Squamish, but not in Metro Vancouver.
“Surprising. I wasn’t expecting this much snow,” Coquitlam resident Larry Yellowega told CTV News Vancouver.
Commuters were also caught off guard, particularly crossing the Port Mann Bridge, where conditions were treacherous and traffic slowed to a crawl.
“It came down a lot harder than we anticipated and brought the snow level down a lot more than we anticipated,” said Darren Ell of Mainroad Lower Mainland Contracting.
Ell says despite how the bridge looked, the crews were out ahead of time brining and later salting and plowing.
“The trucks had been through the area a couple times. Unfortunately, because of the intensity, it accumulates very quickly and trucks, once they pass, the snow starts accumulating again,” he explained.
ICBC did not have reports of any so-called “snow bombs” damaging vehicles.
Armell Castellan, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, says the winter storm was “a little more vigorous and had a little more punch” than what was originally forecast.
“It’s one of those times when the elements come and they come at you a little bit stronger than the forecast models anticipated,” he said.
The amount of accumulation varied from city to city and even within municipalities.
Some areas were blanketed in snow, while others just saw rain.
Parts of Vancouver, Coquitlam, Burnaby, Surrey and Pitt Meadows saw significant accumulation, with as much as seven centimetres on the ground.
Most roads in the region were not prepped with salt or brine ahead of time, creating slippery conditions for drivers.
Parts of Chilliwack also saw a dusting of snow, but many areas of the Fraser Valley were spared.
In Coquitlam, residents were out shovelling and blowing snow from driveways and sidewalks.
“I’m not thrilled. It’s fine. It’s beautiful up here, but it’s a lot of work and it’s wet,” said Morla Lochhead.
“I’m hoping it’s over. I get tired of it,” said Yellowega as he cleared snow.
His words, no doubt, echo the sentiments of many Lower Mainland residents eagerly waiting for spring to arrive.
But Environment Canada warns winter's not over yet.
A wind warning has been issued for parts of Metro Vancouver.