Snowfall keeps school buses parked and causes power outages

Heavy, wet snow blanketed the South Okanagan causing a few power outages.

Dan Fehr said he hasn't seen a snowfall like this one as he clears the sidewalk and driveway in front of the South Main Market

Dan Fehr said he hasn't seen a snowfall like this one as he clears the sidewalk and driveway in front of the South Main Market

Heavy, wet snow blanketed the South Okanagan overnight on Wednesday keeping school buses parked and causing power outages.

“The school buses aren’t running but schools are open,” said Okanagan-Skaha School District 67 superintendent Wendy Hyer. “We suspect some students will be late and a few staff. We want people to get in when they can and when they get there a nice warm classroom will be waiting. We also understand there will be some people who just won’t be able to get to school today.”

The decision to not run the school buses was made early this morning by the school district facilities manager after seeing the road conditions. Public transit in the city is running and emergency response has been kept busy with calls. Penticton Fire Department has responded to five power line incidents, two motor vehicle accidents and one direct alarm all due to snow.

City of Penticton snow plows began working around 3 a.m. this morning. Due to slick conditions, crews had to chain up which added time to the response said city communications officer Simone Blais.

Plows actively started clearing snow starting with the main roads and now crews are focusing on the hilly areas of the community.

Snow brought down several trees around the city and city crews are also trying to clear these up as they go. The weight of the snow has pushed over trees in the Valleyview area which in turn affected a power line, which crews are assessing.

Blais said today’s forecast is for warmer temperatures so crews are also trying to clear storm drains to help with any melting. They are asking residents to also check and clear their storm drains if possible.

The Westminster substation was off-line shortly on Wednesday morning, but has since been repaired and customers are back in service. About 4,000 homes were affected in the downtown area.

According to Environment Canada there is a 40 per cent chance of showers on Wednesday night and the same for Thursday afternoon.

A special weather alert has been issued for the Okanagan Connector from Merritt to Kelowna with heavy snow in the mountain passes continuing today over the southeast interior. Total snowfall amounts of 15 to 30 centimetres are expected by Wednesday, Nov. 26, evening. Snowfall over Coquihalla summit and Allison Pass are forecast to change over to rain. That area has received 45 and 50 cm of snow respectively since Monday evening. Another 5 cm is expected this morning before changing to rain.

Tips from the City of Penticton on wintery conditions:

  • Shovel snow to the right of your driveway (facing the street). This will help avoid extra snow being deposited in the path of your driveway when the snow plow passes by.
  • Shovelling sidewalks falls under the Good Neighbour Bylaw – implemented to help pedestrians (especially children) safe as they walk.
  • Residents who are able to help by checking and/or clearing storm drains in their neighbourhood are greatly appreciated.
  • Consider being a Snow Angel to your neighbours in Penticton, helping others clear their driveways, sidewalks and access points.