Ladysmith saw it’s first snowfall of 2020 in what some have called ‘Snowmaggedon’, or the ‘Snowpocalypse’.
A healthy dump of snow covered Ladysmith streets Monday through Wednesday, leading to school and work cancellations. Garbage collection service in Ladysmith was cancelled, and CVRD transit service did not operate Wednesday morning.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure issued a travel advisory Wednesday urging motorists to avoid travel unless it was essential. Although the snowfall was serious, it was not record breaking for Ladysmith.
“In terms of snow on the ground it’s not that exceptional,” Bobby Sekhon, meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada said.
On January 14, 1971 61 centimetres of snow fell on the ground in Nanaimo. In terms of daily snowfall for January 14, 2020, Sekhon said there were reports of 15 centimetres near Nanaimo. The daily snowfall record for the area is 19.1 centimetres in 1951.
The nearest Environment and Climate Change Canada weather station operates in Nanaimo, so Sekhon could not provide exact records for Ladysmith.
“Daily records are to be taken with a grain of salt,” Sekhon said. “For example, for the 13th of January, the daily record is 38.6 centimetres from 1971. So, it just depends which day you fall that determines whether it’s record breaking or not.”
Ladysmith also saw significant snowfall in December 2016, and 2014 when over 30 centimetres of snow fell on the town.
‘Snowmaggedon’ did drop more snow than the January average for the Ladysmith area. Sekhon said that the snowfall from Tuesday night into Wednesday morning was the ‘main event’.
Town of Ladysmith crews worked overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday to clear roads in Ladysmith. Close to a foot of snow was measured at the Public Works facility.
The Town posted to their social media pages thanking residents for doing their part in shovelling sidewalks.
“Thank you to all the residents who and are doing their part this morning by shovelling sidewalks. We count on you to keep these walkways clear for pedestrians as we continue to work to plough streets,” the post said.
The worst of the snow is over. Ladysmith should now be bracing for rain late on Friday.
Roughly 20 – 30 milimetres of rain is expected to fall this weekend. Armel Castellan, meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada said residents should prioritize clearing drainage pathways to prevent localized flooding.
“There’s an off chance the percipitation starts as a rain-snow mix, then shifts to rain for good. We’re definitely into the warmer stretch for the forseeable future – well into early February – we should not see another Arctic outflow situation,” Castellan said.