Nine-year-old Kingston Foxall enjoyed a snow day on Bear Mountain Tuesday. Schools across Greater Victoria are closed Wednesday morning after a second round of snow fell overnight Tuesday. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Snow-buried south Vancouver Island residents urged to stay home

Schools out after heavy snowfall buries the Island’s southeast coast overnight

Schools across southern Vancouver Island are closed after snow fell throughout the region Tuesday night.

The Sooke, Saanich, Greater Victoria, Cowichan, Gulf Islands, Nanaimo and Qualicum school districts are closed Wednesday due to heavy snow, unsafe road conditions and/or power outages.

READ ALSO: Greater Victoria schools in session despite snow

The Royal Roads University campus is also closed Wednesday morning. The school says crews will clear paths and campus security will be available for students staying on campus.

All day and evening classes are cancelled at Camosun College – both Lansdowne and Interurban campuses are closed. Students and employees are urged to “be safe and take care if they need to travel.”

Vancouver Island University’s Nanaimo campus, Cowichan campus and Trades Centre, Parksville-Qualicum Centre, G.R. Paine Horticultural Centre, and Milner Gardens and Woodland are closed. Snow and ice has developed on roadways, sidewalks and staircases throughout campus, making conditions hazardous for drivers and pedestrians.

Classes are also cancelled at the University of Victoria.

BC Transit has posted online that their buses in the Cowichan Valley system, including the commuter, would be suspended on Wednesday. BC Transit says a number of Greater Victoria routes are detoured or cancelled, and all other routes are running late.

An Environment Canada snowfall warning, updated Wednesday morning at 5 a.m., said to expect even more snow, and then some ice in the Duncan to Nanaimo region.

“Snow from an approaching low pressure system will continue today and will intensify tonight. However, snow near sea level is expected to change to rain this evening as temperatures rise,” said the warning. “Additional snow accumulations of 5 to 15 cm can be expected before the snow changes to a few rain showers.”

Environment Canada’s snowfall warning has lifted for most of the Greater Victoria region but another 15 cm is expected to fall on the Malahat section of the Trans-Canada Highway between Goldstream Provincial Park and Mill Bay.

“Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become difficult to navigate due to accumulating snow,” says the national weather service.

Environment Canada forecasts that low, southeast winds of 70-90 kilometres per hour will spread north from Greater Victoria, reaching the mid Island on Wednesday night. The winds are expected to shift southwest in the early hours Thursday and ease later that morning.

Drive BC warns of winter driving conditions on the Pat Bay Highway and Highway 14.

In Victoria, crews were out Tuesday night clearing priority routes and the City says main routes are now clear.

The City of Langford issued a traffic advisory Tuesday night, asking residents to park their cars inside garages or on driveways to allow clearing and emergency vehicles safe passage. The City reminded motorists that snow or all-season tires are mandatory on Bear Mountain Parkway and urged drivers not to abandon vehicles in driving lanes.

Meanwhile, area volunteer fire departments are reminding residents to be prepared.

Sahtlam Fire asked some questions worthy of pause, recommending folks stay inside.

“”Is YOUR driveway clear? Can we get our fire engine or rescue truck in during an emergency? What about the ambulance? Consider these things, find your snow shovels, or employ an industrious individual in your neighbourhood for a few dollars and clear your driveways! The roads promise to be hazardous for the next couple of days. So remember, when in doubt, don’t go out!”

Mill Bay Fire Rescue says stay home.

“Unless you must be somewhere, please stay off the roads,” said the group’s Facebook page.

— with files from Black Press Media

READ ALSO: Up to 30 cm of snow in store for parts of Greater Victoria



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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