Snowfall warning blankets city with white stuff
By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily
Wet and heavy snow has been blanketing the West Kootenay area for almost one day and the message being sent by Mother Nature is clear: stay off the roads.
A snowfall warning is in effect for the city and area, bringing with it up to 10 centimetres of snow with graver ramifications than Nelsonites have felt previously in the early stages of winter 2010.
The dry and fluffy snow that the area has received in the last week has been replaced with wetter white stuff, making highways slick and impassable in some spots.
The snow quality has changed due to the warming temperatures — with the temperature having risen from daytime highs of -8 degrees Celsius yesterday to near zero Tuesday — creating slippery sections and outright closures of the Warfield and Rossland hill roads.
Rossland is now open to traffic, the RCMP in Trail have reported.
Although visibility is rated at good, there is snow, slippery sections and compact snow on every stretch of road in the area surrounding Nelson. Highway 3 to Grand Forks over the Nancy Greene Pass is classified as snow covered due to the colder temperatures.
Avalanche control will be taking place on Wednesday morning, with a 10 kilometre stretch being closed for two hours on the Kootenay Pass summit on Highway 3.
A section five km. west to five km. east of the summit will be closed from 7-9 a.m. Wednesday for exercise. Delays of up to two hours are expected.
The deluge of snow is caused by a frontal system is moving across the Kootenay districts giving periods of snow, with nearly 10 cm. of snow having fallen in West Kootenay and a further 10 cm. can be expected in the region this evening.
The snow will taper off to a few flurries near midnight tonight behind the front, according to Environment Canada, then it will remain cloudy with a 60 per cent chance of flurries. The temperature will be steady near -2 degrees C.
On Wednesday it will be cloudy with a 40 per cent chance of flurries in the morning and a high near zero. Overnight the cloud will remain with a low of -1 degree C.
There will be some flurries on Thursday with a high near zero and a mix of sun and cloud on Friday with a high near -2 degrees C.
Confidence is still fair in the backcountry around Nelson.
On Wednesday there will be light flurries but no significant accumulation of snow in the higher elevations, with the temperature at around -5°C at the tree line.
Winds are light from the south or southwest at tree line, although moderate west winds are possible Wednesday morning in the alpine.
Around 100 centimetres of snow exists at tree line elevations in the backcountry around Nelson.
The top 10 to 15 cm. is light, low density new snow. This sits on variable old wind slab surfaces. A rain crust exists at or very near the ground.
At present, the bond between the rain crust and the overlying snow appears good, although this could change in the future if the snowpack remains thin and the cold temperatures return.
Source: Canadian Avalanche Centre
City notice to motorists about snow removal
Some snow removal facts and rules of thumb in Nelson:
City street parking
Odd numbered days, park on the odd numbered side of streets and even numbered days, park on the even side of streets.
This practice will allow the City to plow close to the curbs and maintain maximum street width. If you have off-street parking available, please do not park on the street.
Roadside rest stop
Keep parked cars clear of snow for easy visibility to plow operators.
Do not leave vehicles and trailers parked on City streets more than 72 consecutive hours.
If leaving town without your vehicle, make provisions to have it cleaned of snow and moved regularly.
Under City bylaw, violating vehicles may be towed and impounded at the owner’s expense.
Don’t push back
Do not shovel snow from a sidewalk, boulevard or driveway back onto a plowed street.
Residents are required by bylaw to remove snow and ice from sidewalks in front of their premises after each snowfall on a regular basis.
Every owner or occupier of a business premises must remove any accumulation of snow or ice from the sidewalk abutting their business, no later than 11 a.m. When clearing downtown sidewalks please do not push the snow into the amenity areas.
Rules of removal
When driving around the city during severe winter conditions, try to follow the transit bus route.
These routes get first priority for plowing and sanding. Snow plowing protocols are as follows:
First priority – emergency routes
Second priority – bus routes
Third priority – major roads/school zones
Fourth priority – side roads
Source: City of Nelson