Driving in Prince George was still a bit of a nightmare Thursday after a three-day storm dumped up to 60 centimetres of snow on the city.
“We’re doing fine, it’s just trying to get people to understand that 43 or 44 centimetres of snow in the bowl that just stopped this morning at 3:30, it takes a bit to clean that up,” said Jordan Wiseman, city manager of roads and fleets.
“The windrows are massive and it’s taking the guys and gals longer to stack those windrows in the middle (of major streets) because there’s so much snow and we have nowhere to put the snow.”
He said there’s a race against time trying to get the snow removed with warmer weather and rain in the forecast, which could create problems if storm drains are blocked.
“Mother Nature is playing a bit of dirty hand to us this time,” Wiseman said.
Snow amounts from the storm varied from about 40 cm in the bowl part of the city to 60 cm in outlying areas and higher elevations such as the Hart Highway region. The snow started just before noon on Tuesday morning and continued pretty much uninterrupted until early Thursday morning.
The city issues a heavy-snow declaration whenever 20 centimetres of snow or more falls over a 24-hour period. An extra 24 hours is added to the snow-clearing effort for every eight centimetres of snow the city receives beyond the threshold. Any time those thresholds are reached the city calls in heavy-equipment contractors and they will continue to assist city crews in the cleanup operation for the next couple days.
“Since the snow started we have been working on (Priority 1 routes) and having to go back but now that the snow has stopped and it doesn’t look like there’s any significant accumulations so we are moving into residential areas,” said Wiseman.
“We have roughly 36 units on the streets right now, both city forces and contractors. All available resources are deployed.”
The City of Prince George website map shows how roads are prioritized for snow ploughing.
Prior to this, the last time the city had heavy snow to deal with from one storm was on Dec. 21-22, 2021, when 35 cm fell in one 24-hour period.
“We should have some reprieve by Saturday or Sunday and people should start noticing things are a lot more open and traversable,” said Wiseman.
Once the snow has been removed, the city will turn its attention to trouble spots and trying to break up the icy layer on many residential streets that is making those roads treacherous. The warmer weather will allow use of rock salt, salt brine and calcium to help melt the exposed ice and graders with ice blades will also be used.