Weather wreaks havoc for village

Rapid wet snowfall and freezing temperatures wreaked havoc last week as drivers adjusted to conditions on area roads.

  • Dec. 3, 2014 8:00 a.m.

Ten vehicles went off the road during the snow storm Tuesday evening. No serious injuries or major damage was reported. This white Pontiac sustained damage after sliding off the road on Hwy. 3 about 20 kilometres east of Keremeos.

Rapid wet snowfall and freezing temperatures wreaked havoc last week as drivers adjusted to conditions on area roads.

Keremeos RCMP Cpl. Mike Gallagher said 10 collisions occurred within the span of just a few hours during the first significant snow of the season last Tuesday.

“It started happening around 3 p.m. Or 3:15 p.m. Call one came in and then the second one came in and then so on,” Gallagher said. “It was a bigger storm than usual. The snow came so fast and accumulated on the roads.”

Of the 10 collisions, mainly involving vehicles in ditches, just one truck driver needed to be transported to hospital.

An RCMP officer worked well into the early hours of Wednesday morning to help keep the public safe as downed power lines started occurring throughout the area.

“We got the roads under control and then the power lines started coming down. It just got so wet and heavy that the lines were coming down in at least three spots.” he said.

No roads in the area had to be closed down because of snow accumulation or downed power lines.

Crews around the village were kept busy cleaning area streets, CAO Laurie Taylor said.

The night of the storm, Tuesday, the village’s sander/plow and plow were out until 11 p.m. and then back in at 5 a.m. Wednesday. A contractor came in to help clean up as well.

“It was a non-expected snow fall but on the whole I think our guys did great,” Taylor said. “They were pretty tired by the end of Wednesday.”

Mayor Manfred Bauer also applauded the staff for their hard work.

“It came down so heavy, so wet, so fast. Considering the amount that came down they did a great job. It’s not going to be perfect when we get that much coming down at once,” he said.

Mac Watson, who owns Double Diamond Handyman Services, a renovation, landscaping and snow removal business in Keremeos, was still busy trying to catch up with the snow in parking lots Thursday.

He worked late Tuesday night, was up again working at 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday and wasn’t sure how late he’d have to work Thursday as he still had quite a few lots to finish.

“I’ll tell you we got more snow this storm than we did all last winter,” he said while taking a short break from plowing.

In addition to downed power lines that did not get restored for some customers in areas outside the village until Thursday, cell service was interrupted for many customers Wednesday, Thursday and for some unlucky ones into Friday.

The weather and snow accumulation made it difficult for technicians to get to the location of the area’s cell tower.

Tyson Schmauder from Keremeos Taxi was busy shuttling people to and from appointments and running errands throughout the week but was finding it a bit difficult to find cell service.

On Thursday he’d found a small sliver of service near the orchard behind the gas station headed out of town.

“I have to tell people when they get me that when I leave to pick them up I won’t be able to call them or get calls if anything goes wrong,” he said with a smile. “Everyone’s been great – really understandable.”

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