Snowiest winter in Cowichan since 2008-09

Barry Deneault has been busy shovelling snow at no charge for downtown businesses and organizations in Duncan since the latest wintry blast

Barry Deneault has been busy shovelling snow at no charge for downtown businesses and organizations in Duncan since the latest wintry blast hit the region on Feb. 3.

Considering that approximately 30 centimentres of snow has fallen since the beginning of the month, making this the most snowy winter that has hit Vancouver Island since the winter of 2008-09, the task that Deneault had set for himself has not been easy.

The energetic man has just recently returned to his hometown of Duncan after living on the Lower Mainland for the past 20 years, and he said shovelling snow was his way to give back to the community that he loves so much.

“I guess that may sound kind of corny,” Deneault said as he quickly shovelled through the heavy snow on Station Street Monday morning.

“I get a workout and am out in the fresh air, and I get to help others in the community so it’s a win-win for everyone. I really appreciate the coffee, food and thanks that have been offered to me since I began.”

Deneault’s work may just be beginning as Environment Canada has forecast that another low pressure system will hit the Cowichan Valley and the rest of the Island Wednesday night, bringing up to 10 to 15 additional centimetres of snow on top of what is already on the ground.

Snow was coming down hard Tuesday afternoon as well.

But meteorologist Matt MacDonald said that while more precipitation is expected by Friday, the temperatures are expected to return to seasonal norms and it should come in the form of rain.

He said 78 centimetres of snow have been recorded at the Nanaimo Airport, the nearest official weather station to the Cowichan Valley that is used by Environment Canada, so far since the snow began to fall in December.

“We normally receive approximately 49.9 centimetres by the end of February at the Nanaimo Airport each year, but we’re already well above that so far this year,” Deneault said.

“We have a weak La Nina in effect that is bringing in colder than usual water from the equator, and that has mixed with a lot of cold air from the north west which, combined, are making it colder and more snowy on the Island this winter.”