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Comox Valley weather returning to normal after visit from Old Man Winter

THIS PEDESTRIAN WALKING past Seeds Natural Food Market in Cumberland could have skied past Wednesday had she chosen to do so. - Erin Haluschak
THIS PEDESTRIAN WALKING past Seeds Natural Food Market in Cumberland could have skied past Wednesday had she chosen to do so.
— image credit: Erin Haluschak

The aftermath of Wednesday's wintry gust lingers for Comox Valley residents in the form of snow and slush on the ground.

We awoke Wednesday to a slushy mix of rain, snow and wind. A vigourous frontal system crossing the Island brought anywhere from five to 10 centimetres of the rain/snow mix, with Cumberland receiving the full brunt of snow.

As well, Environment Canada issued a wind warning with wind gusting as high as 83 km/h at the Comox Valley Airport weather station.

Due to the second storm within a week, the village lost power early Wednesday morning, and School District 71 closed schools in the area as a result. Schools in Comox and Courtenay remained open Wednesday.

Denman and Hornby islands lost power, as did pockets in Comox and Courtenay.

Hydro poles and branches kept emergency personnel busy in the area, with a handful falling in the Comox area.

"I saw a big flash of light, and I looked up to see big sparks in the air," said Point Holmes resident Renate Wilson, who said the top of a power pole near her home was sheared off.

She credited BC Hydro for restoring the power very quickly.

At the peak of power outage Wednesday about 1 p.m., approximately 5,600 Comox Valley residents were without electricity.

DriveBC cautioned motorists to not drive on Highway 19 (Inland Island Highway) if not required.

Compact snow, limited visibility and strong crosswinds were causing havoc for drivers.

RCMP were kept busy with accidents and vehicles in the ditch, and on Thursday morning, were even involved in one, as a vehicle rear-ended an RCMP cruiser north of Buckley Bay on the Inland Island Highway.

"In the last five days, the Comox Valley RCMP have responded to over 35 motor vehicle collisions, most of them caused by drivers not adjusting their driving to the road conditions," said Const. Nicole Hall of the Comox Valley RCMP in a press release.

She noted when bordering freezing temperatures, the roadways can be extremely dangerous due to black ice.

"Be extra cautious at intersections, overpasses and bridges," she added.

Air travel was also affected by the weather, as a handful of Central Mountain Air and Pacific Coastal flights were delayed arriving and departing from the Comox Valley Airport Wednesday.

On the eve prior to the start of night skiing, those on Mount Washington received another 57 centimetres of snow, adding to an ever-growing base of 342 cm as of Thursday morning.

Environment Canada is predicting showers in the morning for Friday with a high of 5C, with rain and showers throughout the weekend.

The chances of having a white Christmas remain slim, with highs reaching five degrees Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, with lows above freezing.

photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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