Public facilities and stores are starting to close as the heavy winter blizzard conditions worsen.
The storm hit the Terrace area yesterday and continues to cause transportation problems today.
The Skeena Mall is now closed and the Terrace campuses of Northwest Community College just announced it was shutting down.
“Drivers are advised to please drive according to road conditions,” said college communications director Sarah Zimmerman.
Mall officials said clearing the snow from the facility’s large parking lot became an uphill battle.
The Terrace campus of UNBC announced it was closed earlier today.
The list of closures around Terrace also includes the Terrace Public Library and the Terrace Art Gallery which is downstairs in the library building.
Kristine Kofoed from the City of Terrace says it’s advising people to stay home.
“We just want people to stay put,” said Kofoed.
At the same time, city work crews are saying clearing streets is becoming difficult with the number of vehicles parked on roads.
The Terrace RCMP is echoing the city’s concerns, imploring people to stay put and off the roads.
“It’s deteriorating even more so than this morning” said Terrace RCMP const. Angela Rabut. “We would like people to stay put to ensure that themselves, others, and our emergency personnel aren’t put at risk.”
Those emergency personnel are responding to a number of storm-related incidents, mainly vehicle accidents.
“No serious motor vehicle accidents yet, but there’s potential there,” said Rabut. “We’ve attended to numerous false alarms, abandoned 911s, these type of things happen when the weather gets poor.”
Even drivers who are taking it easy on the roads are still hitting the ditches, she said.
“No matter what that is a risk so people need to stay home,” she said.
And the front office portion of the Terrace RCMP detachment is closing with all administrative, non-emergency personnel being sent home due to the weather conditions.
And Rabut reminded people to watch out for city road crews.
“Road clearing crews are being stretched to their limits, ensure that vehicles aren’t being left on streets so that they can do their job more quickly and efficiently, and stay clear of this equipment,” she said. “This equipment often has blind spots and may make it difficult for them to see people, especially when visibility is hampered even more by the poor weather.”
And here is the RCMP’s safety tips list:
- SLOW DOWN AND KEEP WELL BACK from snow clearing equipment. The recommended distance is a minimum of 15 metres (approximately 3 car lengths) to leave plenty of room for the equipment to work.
- STAY BACK FROM SPREADER TRUCKS. When a sand spreader truck is applying salt or sand to the road surface, slow down and stay away from the spreader truck to prevent your vehicle from possibly being hit with salt or sand.
- BE VISIBLE and keep headlights on at all times when travelling. These machines may cause snow clouds that reduce visibility.
- BE PREPARED TO STOP. Snow clearing equipment moves at much slower speeds than other vehicles, and operators also stop frequently to assess the areas they are clearing. Freshly ploughed streets can also be slippery until sand/salt trucks have applied the appropriate material.
- DO NOT PASS ON THE RIGHT hand side of the equipment. Often snow and debris are plowed to the right and pose a hazard to motorists.
- BE CAUTIOUS when approaching snow clearing equipment from behind. These machines often make several passes over the same area, which requires travelling in reverse. Vehicles travelling too close are at risk of damage or collision with the machinery.
- MAKE EYE CONTACT If you are unsure of what a piece of equipment is about to do, wait and make eye contact with the operator – they may finish the task, or if safe to do so, they may stop and wave you through before continuing their work.
- AVOID DRIVING THROUGH WINDROWS. These machines often make several passes to clear a roadway. If you drive through a windrow, you may risk getting stuck in the snow and ice, possibly damaging your vehicle, or you may scatter the snow, creating a hazard for other motorists.