The first blast of winter in Hope has cost the municipality about $42,000.
Last week’s storm brought over 90 centimetres of snow, winds gusts up to 74 km/h, prolonged subzero temperatures and several millimetres of freezing rain.
“We received in three days what on average we experience in one year,” said town manager Earl Rowe.
Local crews worked around the clock in 12-hour shifts to keep the roads open. The municipality executed its priority work system, which is comprised of three stages. It starts with making sure feeder routes, routes with elevations, fire stations and emergency access routes are cleared (priority one), followed by business and residential routes (priority two). The last phase sees crews prepare for the inevitable melt and clearing of storm drains. Part of priority three also includes getting snow off streets and into vacant locations where it can melt without causing flooding.
“Normally we get to priority two in 48 hours, but that was not possible last week,” said Rowe, adding it took a week for crews to reach priority three.
The weather also created treacherous driving conditions on local highways. In addition to numerous vehicle crashes, Jamie Davis Towing had a truck written off by ICBC last week. A tow truck driver was working on getting four semi trucks out of the ditch on Highway 1 west of Hope when wind gusts picked up and blew the doors off his truck.
While road crews battled the elements, students in the Fraser-Cascade School District enjoyed three days off from class.
“It’s something that doesn’t happen very often,” said superintendent Karen Nelson, noting the safety of both students and teachers was the top priority. “Schools throughout the district were in contact with parents in order to support student learning during that time. Are we concerned about student achievement? Of course we are and we’ll do everything we can to support our students.”
There are currently no plans to make up the missed school days.