Ken Billings took advantage of the unusually quiet Wal Mart parking lot on Wednesday, Jan. 15 to run his remote control truck in the snow. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Most Cowichan Valley schools still closed Thursday after snow storm

Region came to a standstill on Wednesday

Most schools in the Cowichan Valley were closed again Thursday as the clean up continued after Wednesday’s snowstorm, in which a total of approximately 30 centimetres fell in the region.

They include all the schools in the Cowichan Valley school district, Vancouver Island University, and Queen of Angels.

It’s the third day this week students had a snow day.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure cautioned against non-essential travel on Highway 1, between Nanaimo and Victoria, on Wednesday, as well as sections of Highway 4 and Highway 19, and said it would reassess highway conditions on Thursday morning.

At least two weather-related accidents occurred at approximately 8 a.m. Thursday on Highway 1 just south of Ladysmith.

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment is reporting there were two minor vehicle accidents in the Valley during the storm, on top of the eight weather-related accidents that occurred from Sunday through Tuesday.

Cowichan Valley Transit, which suspended service Wednesday due to the storm, was operating on winter routing Thursday morning.

Due to poor conditions on the majority of the side roads in the Cowichan Valley, Cowichan Valley handyDART were providing essential service only on Thursday.

Visit www.bctransit.com or call 250-746-9899 for more information.

RELATED STORY: SNOW AND COLD EXPECTED TO LAST THROUGH MID-WEEK IN COWICHAN

BC Hydro also reported the power had been off for 886 customers at around 4:40 a.m. Wednesday due to the storm.

The outage affected those north of Pinder Place, south of the highway, and west of Gary Oak Road.

Crews had the juice flowing again by 7:50 a.m., but later in the day another outage knocked out power to 1,700 in the Sahtlam area.

The B.C. Office of the Seniors Advocate was reminding people that snowy sidewalks, steps and driveways pose risks for seniors, many of who may already experience mobility issues.

“I would ask everyone to watch out for the seniors in their lives and in their neighbourhoods. Please consider clearing the sidewalk and driveway, and perhaps salt the walkways for neighbours who are seniors,” said Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie.

Mackenzie said snowstorms can also disrupt home-care services and the delivery of meals, groceries, and medications.

“It would be helpful to check-in on your loved ones who may be facing additional challenges from the snow. If your neighbour is a senior, please knock on their door or give them a call to see if they are OK,” she said.

Environment Canada issued no new weather alerts for the Cowichan Valley Thursday, or for the rest of the week.

The forecast was for a chance of rain or snow Thursday, with a high of 4 C, dropping to -3 C overnight with a chance of flurries.

Friday also called for a chance of rain or flurries with a high of 3 C during the day.

The temperatures are then forecast to stay above 0 C into early next week, with rain forecast every day.

Most businesses and organizations in the Cowichan Valley shut their doors Wednesday due to the storm.

They included Hiiye’yu Lelum (House of Friendship), the Clements-Sundrops Centre and Adult Community Inclusion programs, the Duncan Garage Cafe, and the Cowichan Tribes offices, schools and daycare.

The list also included all Strong Start programs, Wendy’s House, Cowichan Preschool, Parkside Academy, Growing Together Child and Parent Society, Thrive Now Physiotherapy, Gibby’s Cafe, the Fishbowl Cafe, the Department of National Defence’s Esquimalt base, Pemberton Holmes Real Estate, Providence Farm as well as Island Return-It in both Cobble Hill and Duncan, Curvy Fashions, All offices, shops, fuel dock, Mariners Market & Espresso Bar, and The Shipyard Restaurant & Pub at Maple Bay Marina, Steps Ahead Dance, and Sheer Essentials Lingerie & Swim Mill Bay and Sheer Essentials Lingerie in Duncan.

Bings Creek, Meade Creek and Peerless Road recycling and garbage drop-off centres were also closed Wednesday pending snow removal, and people were advised to check before going to the centres to make sure they’ve been re-opened.

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Cowichan Valley residents awoke to the big dump of snow that was predicted for Wednesday morning. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Birds enjoy breakfast in the snow on Wednesday morning in Mill Bay. (Wolfgang Lehwald photo)

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