Snowfall wreaks havoc in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Traffic disrupted and power outages cause school closures during Tuesday storm

An early morning snowfall Tuesday caused traffic delays and power outages throughout the Parksville Qualicum Beach region.

Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning in effect for east Vancouver Island from Nanoose Bay to Fanny Bay as of 8:39 a.m. Tuesday (Dec. 19).

The weather alert states snowfall was expected to continue throughout the day and into the night. Ten centimetres of snow is expected near sea level and up to 20 cm is expected in higher terrain throughout the day. The alert also states another two to five centimetres is expected this evening.

BC Hydro is reporting that snow and freezing rain has impacted customers across Vancouver Island. As of 8:12 a.m. Wednesday, parts of Errington, Nanoose Bay, Hilliers and Parksville are still without power.

For an updated lists of power outages, visit here.

Heading southbound into Nanaimo from Parksville Qualicum Beach on Tuesday morning at around 8:30 a.m., a sedan was stopped perpendicular to traffic in the right lane just before Northwest Bay Logging Road, which caused delays for vehicles trying to merge into the left lane.

Delays southbound on Highway 19 continued well into the afternoon.

In Parksville, city officials released a snow and ice control update asking residents to remain patient while all available crews and equipment worked to clear roads and sidewalks. Priority routes for plowing, the city said in a written release, are arterial roads and highways, followed by collector roads and, finally, local roads.

A map of the routes and the city’s snow-removal policy can be viewed at the city’s website at www.parksville.ca.

On Highway 4, drivers travelling eastbound to Parksville Qualicum Beach from Port Alberni Tuesday were forced to turn back due to semi-trucks stuck in both uphill lanes on The Hump shortly after 8 a.m.

Users on the Port Alberni Summit Conditions Facebook page posting that The Hump was closed and RCMP was setting up barriers to check for proper tires/chains and fining those who do not have them.

Also on Highway 4, multiple trees of various sizes came down onto or across the road between Cathedral Grove and the Port Alberni summit. The trees were cut or pushed aside by plows, but there were still some occasional branches on the road surface as of Tuesday afternoon.

Winter tire regulations went into effect Oct. 1.

RELATED: Winter tire rules take effect Oct. 1

Motorists are required to have winter tires when travelling on designated highways around the province. These are marked with signs which are generally posted as motorists approach highway mountain passes or highways that see significant winter conditions or where there is a substantial increase in elevation.

Tires that meet this criteria are those labelled with either the mountain snowflake symbol or the mud and snow (M+S) symbol. These symbols are located on the sidewall of the tire. Tires must also be in good condition with a minimum tread depth of 3.5 mm.

The B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure put out a reminder Tuesday morning for drivers to make sure their cars are equipped with proper tires.

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Eastbound traffic on Highway 4, left, approaches a stoppage created by semi-trucks stuck in slushy snow conditions on the Port Alberni summit ‘Hump’ Tuesday morning, Dec. 19, 2017. — J.R. Rardon photo

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