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City ready to take on winter freeze

By Don Fennell

Published 12:22 PST, Thu January 9, 2020

With snow in the forecast and the mercury expected to dip well below zero in the coming days, Richmond says it’s ready for winter’s blast.

Environment Canada issued a special weather statement Thursday morning advising of rain mixed with snow beginning late in the evening, with temperatures remaining steady near plus 2. The pattern is expected to continue Friday morning with winds of around 30 kilometres per hour.

Following a mix of sun and cloud and a low of around plus one Saturday, the temperature is expected to further drop Sunday to a low of minus 2 with periods of snow or rain. Next week, the cold weather grips the area with a low of minus 9 forecast Monday night, minus 7 Tuesday night (with a high near zero), and snow in the Wednesday forecast.

January typically produces the lowest average temperature of the year at 0.3 Celsius and a high of 5.8. The record low was -10.6 in 1973.

Should the snow indeed blanket Richmond, the city has a comprehensive response plan. A centralized control centre of experienced staff manage continuous response to snow, ice or severe weather. This includes following updates to weather reports, monitoring road surface conditions around the city through six road temperature sensors, and dispatching equipment and crews in advance of and during weather events.

The City of Richmond’s snow response plan includes the use of 41 specialized pieces of equipment and vehicles. The works yard is stocked with 1,050 tonnes of salt onsite, with additional quantities on reserve. A secondary location will also be stocked with salt to reduce travel times and increase efficiencies for snow removal equipment working on the east side of Richmond.


Snow plow routes

When it snows, the city’s priority is to ensure all major arterial roads are pre-treated and cleared so emergency vehicles including police, ambulance and fire trucks, public transit and private vehicles can travel through Richmond’s primary routes.

First and second priority routes are pre-established and are the first to be cleared. Third priority routes consist of designated collector roads and roads of local significance. Third priority routes are salted and cleared only when first and second priority routes have been addressed. To view existing snow removal priority routes, visit

If a significant multi-day snowfall event happens, public works staff switch to 24/7 coverage. This means crews work 12-hour shifts clearing snow, laying down anti-icing liquid brine and/or  salting roads to keep frost or ice from forming. This strategy is kept in place until priority roads are clear and conditions change. 

For more information on the city’s snow response, visit Updates during snow and ice events will be posted on Twitter at and Facebook at 


Stay safe in winter weather

The City of Richmond encourages residents to get a head start on preparing for upcoming winter weather conditions. The residents guide to winter weather includes safety and preparedness tips and is available on the city’s website at


Shovel your sidewalk—it’s your responsibility

Traffic Bylaw 5870 requires residential (single-family and multi-family) owners, commercial and industrial and occupants to clear snow and ice from sidewalks adjacent to their properties no later than 10 a.m. every day.

Residents and businesses are encouraged to shovel snow onto lawns or into designated parking stalls, not the street. Shovelling snow onto the street is a hazard for vehicles and creates more work for snow plows, which then slows down the clearing process. Residents are also asked to keep storm drains and grates clear of snow and debris to prevent blocking them, which causes pooling as temperatures warm. 

Heavy snowfall can create challenges for many residents. Be a good neighbour and lend a hand to others in need of snow removal assistance. There is no registry or dispatch number to call; it’s simply something to keep in mind if snow starts to fall.

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