More snow, cold temperatures on the way

The snow and wind warnings from the weekend have been lifted, but the Sunshine Coast is still expected to get its first taste of winter weather this week as temperatures drop and snowfall continues.

Sunshine Coast schools opened as usual on Monday, although bus service was cancelled for Garden Bay, Egmont and Francis Peninsula because of poor road conditions. The Madeira Park StrongStart Early Learning Centre was also closed.

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Sunshine Coast Transit was unable to run buses on the Halfmoon Bay Route 4 for part of the morning, but service resumed around 9:30 a.m. By later in the morning, Transit said it was no longer sending Route 1 buses along Lower Road in Roberts Creek because of the weather conditions, but that service had resumed by 4 p.m.

Sunshine Coast RCMP did not report any serious incidents on the roads, but advised drivers in a tweet to be ready with “good wipers, top up fluids, gnarly tires, flashlight, boots in case you have to walk, [and] plan and drive for the conditions.”

Environment Canada meteorologist Bobby Sekhon said Jan. 13 and 14 would likely be the coldest days this week, with temperatures rebounding on Wednesday.  Overall, Sekhon described the current weather picture as “unsettled” and so far no records have been broken.

“We’ve got a system coming in Tuesday night with some snow… We could pick up some significant accumulations of snow Tuesday night into Wednesday,” he said.

Sekhon said forecasters will be watching that system for the potential of a return to the windy conditions that disrupted ferry service and caused power outages along the south coast.

A special weather statement issued Monday afternoon said, "[Monday night], a weak system will approach the area from the northwest. Northwesterly winds are expected to develop over the Strait of Georgia overnight and where these winds converge with strong outflows from mainland coastal inlets, locally heavier areas of snow are likely to develop... southern Texada Island, and Half Moon Bay to Sechelt could be affected overnight and on Tuesday.

The second system will reach the south coast Tuesday evening and affect a more widespread area than the first, with snow is expected for much of the night. Mainland arctic outflow winds reaching the eastern coast of Vancouver Island will create the potential for increased snowfall amounts locally.

A third system is on the horizon for Thursday night and a fair degree of uncertainty exists regarding its impact upon the south coast."

After starting Sunday with a modified schedule because of cancellations on the Vancouver Island routes, high winds late in the day forced BC Ferries to cancel evening sailings on the Langdale-Horseshoe Bay route. As of 10 a.m. Monday, service was operating as normal.

Service was anything but normal Sunday night for the passengers on the Comox-Powell River route. The captain of the Salish Eagle was forced to hold position between Texada and Harwood Island for several hours because high winds made it too dangerous to try to dock at Powell River.

Both the Town of Gibsons and District of Sechelt have been reminding property owners of their responsibility under local bylaws to clear sidewalks in front of their homes or businesses.

In Sechelt, “the owner or occupier of any real property shall remove the accumulation of snow and ice from the sidewalks and pathways bordering on the real property within 24 hours of a snowfall.” 

The Gibsons bylaw is worded a bit differently and calls for property owners to have snow and ice cleared from all sidewalks bordering their property by 10 a.m. after a snowfall or before snow depth exceeds 10 cm.

Gibsons also recently reviewed its snow- and ice-clearing policy to expand the list of areas the Town is responsible for clearing, including a new section of sidewalk and multi-use path on Gibsons Way. Other priority areas include North Road between Kiwanis Way and Gibsons Way and Shaw Road between O’Shea and Gibsons Way.

The snow has been good news for Dakota Ridge. The winter recreation area reports eight centimetres of new snow and a base of 168 cm.

The Sunshine Coast Regional District said staff are working to open the Blueberry cross-country trail and plowing was in progress on the access road. A 4x4 or all-wheel drive vehicle equipped with chains is recommended if you plan to head up the mountain.

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