City prepared for possible winter snowfall

·2 min read

With this winter projected to be colder than average for the second year in a row, the city is summarizing its plans to be prepared for inclement weather and poor road conditions.

Last winter, Richmond experienced 41 frost/ice events and one snow event, according to a staff report in advance of next week’s public works and transportation committee meeting. Thirteen centimetres of snow accumulated at the airport in total.

The report notes that the city pre-treated or de-iced 25,860 lane kilometres, as well as plowing and salting 2,304 lane kilometres of higher-priority roads.

The city’s snow response route map prioritizes roads based on key travel routes. There are 217 kilometres of first priority routes, which includes all bus routes. Second priority routes, totalling 22 kilometres, are main roads through major subdivisions and industrial roadways. Third priority routes (77 kilometres) are only serviced once the first and second priority routes are under control.

This year’s colder weather will be caused by a moderate to strong La Niña, based on the long-range forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center. La Niña amplifies the polar jet stream and can bring colder air and more frequent storms.

The city has run its Snow Angels program annually since 2010, connecting volunteers with elderly residents or those with mobility or health challenges. Volunteers help by shovelling snow from sidewalks or walkways if there is an accumulation of three or more centimetres of snow. Last year, a record 119 volunteers registered, and more than 40 homes were helped during February’s snow event.

The city has secured 1,050 metric tonnes of salt for this winter, with 2,200 more on reserve if needed. Over 45 pieces of equipment are available for snow response, including eight vehicles with brine tanks.

Road temperatures are measured 24 hours a day at eight locations around the city. Information is available online.

Staff anticipate no financial impact for this winter’s plans.

Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel

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