Smithers saw a record breaking amount of snow last week.
From Tuesday through to Thursday early morning, the area received 45 cm of snow.
“The monthly total, if you average it out over the last 30 years is about 23.5 cm,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Lisa West. “So to put the storm into perspective, the area saw easily the same or more than the region typically sees in an entire month. It was a major snowfall event across much of the central interior.”
She added that Wednesday dumped the most amount of snow during the three day storm.
“We did break a record for greatest precipitation that fell on February 7 with 24 mm of water equivalency. The previous record was only 10 mm set in 2016,” she said.
Another record was broken for the most amount of snow on the ground for Feb. 8.
According to Environment Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan there was 94 cm of snow at the airport.
The previous record was in 1965 with 79 cm on the ground. The average for this time of the year is 29 cm.
Hudson Bay Mountain Resort reported a base of almost two metres on the mountain.
Avalanche Canada is urging caution in the backcountry, with the second highest danger rating level of “considerable” in the area. It asks people to check their latest information at avalanche.ca.
Environment Canada does not have records for total season snowfalls for Smithers.
Town of Smithers CAO Anne Yanciw said the Town has already spent 13 per cent of the proposed 2018 snow removal and sanding budget. This time last year, the Town had spent seven per cent of the 2017 budget. She added that last year the area did not see as much snow but there was a lot of freeze/thaw cycles which affected the sanding costs.
However, the Town did not quite use up all the allocated funds for removal and sanding in 2017. The Town has budgeted $171,859 for snow clearing and $247,641 for sanding for 2018.
“Snow removal and sanding are cost centres to allocate staff time towards,” Yanciw explained.
“If staff are not doing those tasks, then their time is allocated to another cost centre — for example, to parks for things such as refinishing park benches. So if a lot of time is spent on snow removal, it doesn’t mean the total staff costs are any higher, it simply means that one cost centre will have higher costs and another lower.”
The Village of Telkwa is also doing the best job it can under the circumstances.
Telkwa Mayor Darcy Repen said during the height of the storm on Wednesday the Village was struggling to maintain road widths as space is running out to put snow.
“It’s a stressful and challenging situation for our staff. We have only four field public works staff and a limited amount of equipment, which is also being tested by the conditions, and we are also hearing from many frustrated residents. Ultimately, Mother Nature is having her way with us right now, and we are asking residents to continue to be patient and understanding of the challenges our staff are facing,” Repen said.
The Village also used two private contractors to help catch up and roll the snow back into ditches, which he added may create another problem.
“This may cause a new problem in the spring with culvert blockage and drainage problems. [We are] stuck between a rock and a hard place,” Repen said.
The District of New Hazelton spent the snow day concentrating on the downtown core and then crews worked their way to the outer areas of the community. CAO Wendy Hunt said the District is now working on doing a more in-depth cleaning by pushing snowbanks further from the edges of the road to assist with spring thaws. She added they don’t have a separate budget for snow removal from the public works budget.
– With files from Chris Gareau.