British Columbia

Fraser Valley drivers, residents, urged to take care with possibility of more snow

The Fraser Valley has been one of the hardest-hit areas during recent winter storms and residents and drivers are urged to be cautious.

Residents urged to clear catch basins, storm drains to help prevent flooding

Snow mounds next to a vehicle at Clearbrook Town Square mall in Abbotsford. The Fraser Valley has been hit particularly hard by recent winter storms. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

The Fraser Valley has been one of the hardest-hit areas during recent winter storms and residents and drivers are urged to be cautious — especially with another storm on the way

Brent Schmitt, the manager of business services for engineering and public works at the District of Mission, says about 75 centimetres of snow has fallen this week in the community.

The snow is piled up on road shoulders throughout the city, making roads narrower and driving conditions treacherous.

"We just don't have the capacity to remove that volume of snow," he told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn.

"At this point, we're just pushing it to the sides of the road … the main roads are in quite decent shape. Sand and salt just aren't applicable to residential areas, until snow on the roads is brought to a more manageable level."

Schmitt says residents are encouraged to clear snow-covered catch basins and storm drains to avoid flooding when the accumulated snow begins to melt.

To avoid basement flooding, Schmitt advises taking measures to direct pooling water away from the foundation of the home.

A man shovels his driveway in Surrey on Feb. 7, 2017. (Anita Bathe/CBC)

Snow plows helping ambulances in Chilliwack

In Chilliwack, more than 80 centimetres of snow has fallen in the last five days, a problem in a somewhat rural municipality where many people live on windy, hilly roads outside the town centre.

"We've been able to plow our arterial routes and connector routes, but there's some areas of town that are really impassable," said mayor Sharon Gaetz.

"Compared to people back east who are used to it, we're a little bit wussy when it comes to snow."

As a result, snow plows have had to be on standby if people have needed emergency assistance in stranded homes.

"We've been able to get people out successfully. But it's not without a whole lot of drama," she said.  

"It has been very trying for our crews ... It has been interesting, and dare I say it's going to become even more interesting the next couple of days." 

Tow trucks stepping up

A winter storm front is expected for the entire South Coast on Wednesday, and drivers are being asked to use caution because freezing rain could make roads extremely treacherous.

But if the past two months are any indication, those warnings will go unheeded for some.

Langley-based Clover Towing says on an average weekend they'll get around 860 calls for service — but from Friday to Monday during this recent snowstorm, they had 1,406.

All told, they responded to 246 cars in ditches throughout the Fraser Valley.  

"It's pretty much all day," said driver Travis George, describing the constant calls for his service this week.

"You have 10, 15 minutes to maybe grab a coffee ... and then it's all to the next one, on to the next one."

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast, Bal Brach and Anita Bathe


To hear the interview with Brent Schmitt, click the audio labelled: Fraser Valley drivers, residents, urged to take care with possibility of more snow

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