The overnight snowfall that has blanketed Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and much of the Lower Mainland, was more than what was forecast, according to the city of Maple Ridge.
“The snowfall overnight exceeded the forecast and some of your neighbours are waking to 20 cm of snow,” said the city.
Crews worked overnight to focus on priority routes and would start moving towards the secondary routes throughout the day, the city noted.
Geoffrey Spriggs, deputy fire chief with the Maple Ridge fire department, said that the crew hadn’t been called much so far since snow started falling last night. While there had been one call for frozen pipes, there hasn’t been a lot that the crew has had to attend to that was weather related.
“We have had the usual medical calls but nothing out of the ordinary,” he said. However, he warned that this could change rapidly with the unusual weather conditions this year, and asked that people stay at home and off the roads, if they didn’t need to venture outside.
City of Pitt Meadows has also received a beating of snow and the city crews have been working to clear the roads with snowplows.
The city is also urging residents to clear snow from sidewalks on to their lawns instead of shoving it on the roads.
According to David Biggin, deputy chief with Pitt Meadows Fire and Rescue, the weather coinciding with holidays has meant more people have stayed off the roads.
“We have mostly had calls for freezing pipes and leaks but nothing major so far. We are actually very lucky that the snowfall first came down over the Christmas holidays, and now over this New Year’s holidays when most people are either working from home or are away,” he said.
Biggin’s crew has already dealt with more than two calls for burst pipes this morning alone and have seen a remarkable increase in such calls. He is expecting the weekend to be even worse as the temperatures rise and the snow thaws.
“It is very challenging for firefighters during such temperatures. If there is a fire and we have to use a hose, it is just a matter of minutes until the water from the hose used to spray down the fire, would turn a cul-de-sac into a skating rink. It is also difficult accessing people’s homes for something like a medical call,” he said, “But it isn’t anything that the firefighters can’t handle.”
Operationally, the crew is well prepared with all the equipment and vehicles winterized, he said.
“We just ask that people clear a path from their homes to the sidewalk and clear as much of the sidewalk as possible. They should also clear around the fire hydrant. All of this is actually helpful for all the emergency crews,” he said.
While the snowfall warning has ended, Environment Canada has forecast a high of -2 C with wind chills of -11 C in the morning and -4 C in the afternoon. The weather forecast also calls for snow on Jan. 1.
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