Icy roads remain Nov. 8 after an overnight snowfall across Greater Victoria. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)

Icy roads remain Nov. 8 after an overnight snowfall across Greater Victoria. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)

Snowy night ends in crashes and closures but Greater Victoria schools are open

Pat Bay Highway closed temporarily, buses got stuck in Esquimalt on Monday

The first big snowfall of the season on the south Island caused crashes, closures and plenty of warnings from officials.

The storm had school districts across the region ensuring families that their schools are open on Tuesday.

“Please use extra caution when travelling to and from school as some roads and sidewalks may be slippery in some places,” the Greater Victoria School District said.

The Saanich and Sooke districts echoed that call for a safe school commute. SD63 added that given its large district, it understands the snow may make travel difficult from some areas.

“It’s a parent’s decision if you choose to keep your child home due to road conditions,” SD62 said, adding those with children staying home should let their school know.

After the flurry-filled night, West Shore RCMP and Victoria police reminded drivers to clear off their entire cars, including the roof, as flying snow can be hazardous for other vehicles.

Saanich police dealt with a number of crashes on Monday night, including a multi-vehicle one at the intersection of the Patricia Bay Highway and Haliburton Road just before 10 p.m. The Pat Bay was temporarily shut down so tow trucks could remove the vehicles. Saanich police asked drivers to slow down and give vehicles extra space as it said the snow and ice made for slippery surfaces.

“Where tow truck operators and emergency workers are operating in these conditions, please give them extra space and slow down,” the department said.

In Victoria, the cold weather prompted the city to activate an overnight warming centre (11 p.m. to 8 a.m.) at the James Bay United Church (511 Michigan St.). Roads in Victoria and Esquimalt were “treacherously poor” on Monday night, Victoria police said.

It was one of several departments asking people not to drive unless it was a necessity. Lampson Street was essentially impassable between Esquimalt and Old Esquimalt roads just before 10 p.m. due to two stuck buses blocking the hill there – which police said caused several vehicles to bump into curbs to stop.

READ: Drivers warned as snow warning issued for the Malahat


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