White Christmas sprawled into New Years chaos
By, Matthew Fraser, Editor in Chief
For many other parts of Canada, snow at this time of year is standard, however, in Vancouver, it is uncharacteristic with 2021 marking the city’s fourth white Christmas in the past 25 years.
The preceding few weeks have been marked by an unusual snowfall and the continued presence of snow throughout the Vancouver and lower BC areas. Beginning on Dec 14, snow began to coat the streets and scenery of Metro Vancouver and surrounding areas. A special weather statement had been issued by Environment Canada on December 13, warning of at least five centimetres of snow across the Metro Vancouver area. For many other parts of Canada, snow at this time of year is standard, however, in Vancouver, it is uncharacteristic with 2021 marking the city’s fourth white Christmas in the past 25 years. On Christmas Eve, the Environment Canada weather station at Vancouver International Airport had recorded 6.9 cm of snow.
Yet the postcard winter wonderland on display has also resulted in several unfortunate events. CBC reported on January 5 that the low-pressure system causing the snowfall would also bring with it frigid temperatures. As a result, Environment Canada recommended that people avoid non-essential travel due to the potentially treacherous conditions. Additionally, transit gaps and cancellations were announced, leading to an advisory for all transit passengers to prepare for extra commute time. Further reporting from Vancouver is Awesome noted over 200 hundred TransLink alerts on January 5.
In turn, compacted snow and later rainfall formed ice on sidewalks and roadways, prompting multiple shutdowns across industries. CBC reports that B.C. Ferries was forced to cancel multiple sailing because crews were blocked by snow and unable to reach the terminals. Many schools, colleges (including Douglas) and universities. Additionally, Simon Fraser University faced a power outage as BC Hydro crews worked to fix damaged lines.
Potentially even more telling in regard to the seriousness of the snowfall, is the fact that Canada Post suspended mail service in the Metro Vancouver area on January 6. Global News quotes the mail service as saying: “We encourage customers to clear the ice from their walkways, stairs, and driveways, to ensure safe access to the front door for both their visitors, as well as their mail carriers, when service resumes[.]”