Polar vortex causes havoc in Southern British Columbia
Police, fire and paramedics were out in full force. February 3rd 2019 brought some very treacherous weather to the Fraser Valley. Some say it is the polar vortex causing this out of character weather. The polar vortex is basically cold air that builds over the Arctic – depending on the weather pattern, that air can then move into different parts of the country which may be the case. The Fraser Valley of British Columbia is roughly an hour drive east of Vancouver, British Columbia in the south western corner of the province. Generally winters in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley are quite mild.
Every few years a change in the weather pattern brings some cold and snow to the region and definitely this winter, or the last week anyhow has brought on some treacherous conditions. The eastern provinces of Canada and eastern United States have been enduring below regular temperatures dropping into the minus 20 to minus 40 Celsius range. Jason McMurdo the videographer was travelling out in the Abbotsford, British Columbia area during the late afternoon on February 3rd while the area was getting its first snowfall and cold snap of the season when he was caught in a major traffic jam. Greater Vancouver in general was feeling the cold and minor snow, but Abbotsford was being hit the hardest with strong winds and blowing snow.
Since the Vancouver area does not get a lot of snow most years, it seems many of the drivers are not very experienced in these driving conditions. Driving above the safe speed for the conditions usually proves this. Cars end up sliding into ditches, and off the sides of the roadways. Sadly enough many vehicles and their occupants sustain injuries, usually because of lack of attention and care. As we know, keeping back a safe distance from other vehicles while driving will usually give us time to react to a situation, whether the driver ahead has come across a situation in which they need to stop quickly, or an animal has crossed in front of them. No matter the case or cause, we as drivers need to practice safe driving skills to avoid injury and expensive bills for repairing our vehicles.
In the case of this video, many of the mentioned causes were at hand. Blowing snow can cause visibility issues, which in the end can cause multiple vehicle pile ups, which is what happened here. As you see, there were a number of first responders on the scene. Firefighters, paramedics and police all had their jobs set out for them this day. Assisting vehicle owners to safety and out of the cold was key. Temperatures plummeted to near minus 6 Celsius in a short time causing the blowing snow on the freeway to quickly compact into ice which created these horrendous conditions. Thankfully, the weather in the area can change rapidly so this will most likely be a thing of the past within a day or two. Thankfully there did not appear to be any major injuries, but surely some shaken drivers.