You’d think that good dump of snow Surrey experienced on Wednesday would mean greater mayhem on local roads than what we had earlier in the week, but it appears to have actually had a calming effect on traffic.
The closure of schools in Surrey and Delta helped take the traffic pressure off the streets. The storm also meant the cancellation of several sports events and games, including Wednesday action at the Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic tournament for high school boys teams in the city, and also all minor hockey games planned by Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association.
Surrey had 26 traffic crashes on Monday between 5 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. alone, and five snow-related falls. By 10 a.m. Monday, the Surrey RCMP and Surrey firefighters dealt with five crashes. Comparatively, by that same time Wednesday they’d dealt with three crashes.
“Nothing with any serious injuries,” Corporal Elenore Sturko said. “It seems like a lot of people have not ventured out on the roads. School closures and stuff, I think it’s keeping a lot of traffic off the roads.
“There are a few cars that haven’t been able to make it up hills or they’re stuck, so if you don’t have the right equipment,” Sturko advised, “you should consider not coming out on the road. A lot of roadways are snowed in, with slippery conditions.”
For those motorists who do head out, she stressed, “take the time to clear off your car.”
Also make sure your windshield wipers aren’t frozen to the windshield. “You don’t realize it until you go to use your wipers and they’re not functioning and it reduces your visibility, so make sure your equipment’s working, lights, everything,” Sturko noted, “because when visibility is low making sure you that you have every advantage to meet the challenges of this kind of weather, it helps to keep it a lot safer out there.”
Surrey Fire Battalion Chief Brian Carmichael said there were no fires.
“With shutting down the schools and things like that, it’s been a much quieter morning. We’ve had one person fall and they’ve been taken away in an ambulance.”
Carmichael said a pedestrian was hit a 96th Avenue and King George Boulevard. “That was a person who was knocked down and was able to get up on their own.”
Also, a section of 176 Street was shut down for a bit, between 88th Avenue and 96th Avenue. “They had to shut that down to clear it. There were a couple other problems with King George hill, that kind of stuff.”
According to The Weather Network, at press time Wednesday it was -7 degrees Celsius in Surrey but the temperature was expected to climb to above zero on Thursday and Friday, and up to 6 degrees on Saturday with rain in the forecast.
Police or firefighters had no reports of anyone perishing in Surrey this week on account of the cold weather.
Whalley’s Gateway Shelter, operated by the New Westminster-based Lookout Housing and Health Society, was full on Wednesday. That shelter has 38 beds for men and eight for women.
Wes Everaars, director of development with Lookout, said the emergency weather shelters in Guildford and Fleetwood, which is in a church, had some space available in the latter at press time. Guildford has 10 spaces and Fleetwood 28, all told. “I don’t know what the leftover is,” he said. “I would suggest Guildford is full, and Fleetwood would have some space.”
Everaars said he wasn’t aware of anyone freezing to death in Surrey, “but that doesn’t mean they aren’t.”
“I would hear actually if there was something drastic,” he said. “So let’s keep our fingers crossed. There’s a lot of hidden homelessness, as you know. I don’t about the camps, down by the hill there going up King George, and whether that’s still going strong or not.”
– with a file by Tom Zillich