Snow snarls commutes, with more set to fall by Wednesday
Kids dreaming of a white Christmas woke up to a winter wonderland Tuesday morning, but for commuters the white stuff wasn't such a welcome treat.
It was slow going on slippery side streets that hadn't been plowed and even Port Moody's St. Johns Street resembled a parking lot. Drivers reported commutes that usually take 20 minutes were stretching out to well over an hour; one northeast Coquitlam resident said it took her husband an hour just to make it as far as Ikea.
And while the snow promised to give way to warmer temperatures and rain by Tuesday afternoon, the forecast was calling for more snow overnight and heavy snowfall into Wednesday. There could even be more snow over the weekend.
City crews were busy clearing roads, with Coquitlam staff out at 4 a.m. Tuesday to clear top priority routes for emergency and transit vehicles on collector, arterial and emergency routes. Later in the morning they were applying salt on roads where a slippery glaze had formed overnight due to hail.
Port Moody reported six trucks and one backhoe were working to clear priority one routes Tuesday morning and were branching out to priority two and three roads in the afternoon.
In Port Coquitlam, eight snow plows were out at 11 p.m. Monday to clear away ice and snow and were expected to start again at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday to prepare the streets with brine and sand in advance of a predicted snow fall.
Coquitlam RCMP Cpl. Jamie Chung said between 4 a.m. and noon, police had already received eight traffic complaints ranging from accidents to vehicle roll-overs, cars stuck in the snow, "and, if you can believe it, vehicle speeding through school area."
Chung said drivers often run into trouble on flat stretches of roadway because they're going too fast for the conditions, such as the vehicle that rolled over on Lougheed Highway, near Coquitlam Centre, at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday.
"It's at night, there's no other vehicles around, it's quiet, the vehicles tend to go faster and out of control," Chung said.
Police are warning drivers that conditions are expected to improve only marginally throughout the afternoon and are set to worsen by Wednesday morning.
"If you don't have to go out, don't," Chung said. "And if you must go out, please slow way down."
Coquitlam offered the following tips for Tri-City residents over the coming snowy days:
• If you don't have snow tires, stay off the roads.
• Do not abandon your vehicle in the middle of the road.
• Homeowners must clear sidewalks in front of their homes within 10 hours after the cessation of any snowfall.
• Don't shovel snow on to the street. Pile snow on the right side of the driveway as you face the road; in many cases this will reduce the amount of snow that gets pushed back onto your driveway from the snow plow.
• Pedestrians should try to stay on the sidewalk. If it's not accessible, walk on the left side of the road facing traffic, pay close attention and move as close to the sidewalk as possible.
For more information and tips, visit coquitlam.ca/winterwise.