The thrill of the white stuff is gone in Chilliwack.
The endless snow-show is set to shift into freezing rain mode sometime overnight Wednesday and into Thursday, according to forecasters, which will make driving conditions even more hazardous.
“The novelty is long gone,” said Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz.
To get ready for more snow, ahead of the freezing rain, City of Chilliwack plowing crews were hitting some residential side streets Wednesday to clear as many as they could before going back to the main priority routes, and clearing drifted over north/south corridors. Drifting snow is still vexing them.
They sent out 12 plowing units to clear residential side streets, half were plowing truck/sanders and the other half backhoes, but they won’t necessarily be able to get to all of them.
They now have 78 people on snow removal duty, with two plowing/sanding shifts of 35 people each, as well as contractors and parks staff clearing park areas.
“So all hands are on deck,” said the mayor.
Although many cheer when they see the plowing equipment, sometimes driveways get blocked when the equipment passes.
“We know that makes it tough for people if they have to reshovel,” she said.
Folks can help by parking in their driveways and garages if possible.
In the meantime, city officials are warning that depending on the amount of freezing rain there could be power outages as trees and power lines go down due to ice buildup.
Weather forecasters are calling for one centimetre of ice overnight on Wednesday, followed by heavy rain around 20 mm all day.
Before starting the morning commute Friday, residents are encouraged to take a look at road conditions. Hillside residents should use caution if freezing rain hits overnight.
Everyone needs to make sure they are ready for outages or other emergencies, finding flashlights with extra batteries, collecting food, or other staples.
Residents can clear any catch basins around them to help reduce the risk of flooding. The combination of snow and freezing rain, followed by heavy rainfall significantly increases the risk of flooding. Residents can look up catch basin locations online at http://maps.chilliwack.com/b/?layer=23.
Freezing rain should turn to rain on Thursday, then showers on Saturday before things warm up, and start drying out on Sunday.
Residents can load up on sand and sandbags at Townsend Park in the west gravel parking lot. Bags are in the green container, but bring a shovel to fill them.
Residents can report localized flooding or trees blocking roads at 604-793-2810. Avoid plowing related calls in order to keep the lines free for urgent flooding and road blockage reports. If there is a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 and they will work with city reps directly if more help is needed to clear the road first.
Traffic webcams are at chilliwack.com/webcams.