Williams Lake has never seen more snow fall in a 24-hour period than it did last Friday between Nov. 15 and Nov. 16. — at least since Environment Canada started recording snowfall back in 1961.
“You were the top of the list as the winter storm’s centre went right through Williams Lake,” Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist said Tuesday.
“Now we are into Arctic air.”
The Williams Lake Airport received 51 cm, with the next highest being the Coquihalla Summit where they received 35 cm, and Allison Pass which received 32 cm.
Transit buses were cancelled on Friday because of the snow and all flights into the airport were unable to land, because of a low visibility ceiling.
“It was that coastal snow, heavy and wet, not that normal Cariboo dry snow that provides reasonable traction,” said Kevin Goldfuss, director of municipal services.
“Who would have thought that we’d get such a major snow fall on Nov. 15.”
The large snowfall took the city by surprise, Goldfuss said.
“Thursday night when the night shift left at 11 o’clock there was no snow,” Goldfuss said. “Our day shift arrived at 5 a.m. to find eight to 10 inches of snow on the ground.”
More than 7,000 homes in the Williams Lake area were also impacted by power outages due to the heavy snowfall, said BC Hydro community relations co-ordinator Dave Mosure. The last homes to have their power restored were on Hodgson Road on Monday morning.
“It was 100 Mile House, Williams Lake, the whole corridor,” Mosure said. “We were calling in guys on days off, contractor crews were being used, we used everybody we could get our hands on. We definitely got tested.”
Because it was the first big storm of the season, any trees that were in a weakened state showed themselves, he said.
To deal with the record snow Friday, Goldfuss said day crews worked steadily and all through the weekend.
“We cleaned up the downtown and trucked all the snow away Sunday,” he said.
Crews began residential snow removal on Monday, and will follow the garbage and recycling pick up schedule, which means clearing streets the night before those areas have their garbage and recycling retrieved.
On Wednesday the city will be working on Thursday’s route and on Thursday will be working on Friday’s route, and Friday they will be working on Monday’s route.
“We do ask the public for their patience and help,” Goldfuss said. “Where they are able, to park on their own property or driveway and don’t put garbage cans out until the street is cleaned because that creates challenges because we cannot clear the area if there are cars or carts in the way.”
In fact the city is hoping to permanently align snow removal with garbage pick up and will hold a public forum on the proposed changes on Thursday, Nov. 28 in council chambers at city hall, beginning at 6 p.m.
According to Environment Canada, the highest recorded snow fall for Williams Lake to date had been 42.7 cm on Jan. 7, 1961.