Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.
The forecast, issued just after 3:30 p.m. today, calls for five to 10 centimetres of accumulation caused by a low pressure system offshore.
"Snowfall amounts will be highly variable," the warning says. "Rapidly accumulating snow could make travel difficult over some locations. If visibility is reduced while driving, slow down, watch for tail lights ahead and be prepared to stop."
But as the snow begins to blanket the region, not all North Delta roads will get plowed immediately.
The Corporation of Delta splits its roads into three priority groups to ensure major routes get cleared first.
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See the map above for the priority of your street or route home, or click here for a higher-resolution image that you can zoom in on.
Public transit routes, major collectors, select school access roadways and some roads in hilly areas are given first priority, with sanding and snowplowing carried out as long as poor conditions exist. Overtime for municipal employees working these routes is automatic, so they will get done no matter what.
“Second-priority” roads include secondary through-roads in residential areas and school bus routes. Overtime may be scheduled to complete secondary priorities, but is not guaranteed.
Minor residential streets and cul-de-sacs are given third priority, with work carried out on a site-specific basis, usually at the request of the residents and normally after inspection by a supervisor. Work on these areas is carried out during normal working hours only.
The municipality has set up a "winter road conditions" phone line (604-952-3820) that is updated every four hours with the current weather situation and Delta's response levels. This information will also be available through Delta's Facebook and Twitter pages.
The Corporation of Delta's snow and ice preparedness website offers the following tips to assist the city in providing the best service possible:
• If possible, do not park your vehicle on the street or in your cul-de-sac. An empty street makes the passage of snow plows and salt spreaders much easier.
• Do not attempt to stop the plow truck operators. They follow specifically laid out routes and are under the direction of the engineering department. Please direct all requests, comments and concerns directly to the engineering department at 604-946-3260 during business hours or to Delta Police at 604-946-4411 after business hours.
• Walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic. On roadways where there are no sidewalks or the sidewalks are impassable due to snow, give the snow plows as much room as possible. Our drivers are courteous, but the equipment they are operating is large and complex.
• Never shovel snow from sidewalks and driveways onto the street. The snow plows always push the snow to the side of the road. Accordingly, this may result in snow being pushed back onto your driveway rather than having it plowed away. Pushing the snow from your driveway onto the road will add snow and ice to the road, creating a hazardous situation.
• Pile snow shoveled from your driveway on the right side facing the street. This reduces the chance of having the plow pile the snow over your driveway entrance after you have shoveled it out. Our drivers attempt to leave clear entrance to driveway whenever possible; however, this is not always possible following heavy snowfall.
• Please shovel any catch basins if they are in front of your home. Melting snow can drain into the storm system and this will reduce the chance of flooding and icing in the street, as well as the chance of flooding on your property.
• Garbage cans and recycling should not be placed on the road. Keep them on the sidewalk or boulevard and remove them as soon as possible after they have been emptied.
Commercial property and business owners are responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks located adjacent to their property within 24 hours, or could face a $100 fine. Residential property owners are requested to clear snow from sidewalks bordering their properties, but are not mandated to do so.
The Snow Angels program is available again this year to assist seniors and those with physical disabilities who need a helping hand with driveway and sidewalk snow clearing. The North Delta chapter is based out of the Kennedy Seniors Recreation Centre and residents needing the service are encouraged to call 604-594-2717.
Anyone interested in volunteering to be a Snow Angel can contact Delta's volunteer coordinator at email@example.com or 604-946-3288. Volunteers must have their own shovel and transportation.