Severe Weather - Public Works Response

 
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Severe Weather: Are you prepared? 

The City of Vancouver's Department of Public Works encourages businesses and residents to plan ahead and be alert to avoid many problems associated with severe weather. The handy information below can provide you with the facts and tips you may need should severe weather strike.

Top Priorities for Vancouver's Streets:

There are more than 1,800 lane miles of streets in the City of Vancouver. When severe weather hits hard, Vancouver Public Works prioritizes its response to provide the strongest level of support for our community's life-saving public safety network.

Highest Priority
  • First on the priority list is the critical network of arterials that connect police, fire and emergency medical services. Public Works crews also work closely with Vancouver Fire and Vancouver Police to clear the way to specific sites where emergency access is needed. During major snow and ice storms, just keeping the top priority critical streets open and passable is a process that has to be repeated over and over again, around the clock.
Other Priorities
  • After critical public safety network of arterials come the remaining arterials, selected collectors, snow bus routes and key streets around schools and hills.
  • As weather conditions, resources an d time allow, next come the collectors and public parking lots.
 
Residential Neighborhood Streets - What You Should Know

During severe weather, the effort to support public safety is a constant job, night and day. That is especially true during long bouts of snow and ice. Residential streets do not get plowed due to these demands and the city’s limited resources, as well as the difficulties presented by numerous driveways and cars parked along residential curbs.

Residents are encouraged to be prepared in advance for the possibility of severe weather.Be sure you have the traction devices, snow shovels and other severe winter weather necessities you may need while supplies are readily available. During and immediately after severe winter storms, please avoid driving if at all possible. When travel is necessary, leave additional time to reach your destination safely.   

Fortunately, major snowstorms of significant duration are not a common occurrence in Vancouver. Winters here are generally rainy and mostly temperate, compared with other regions. When it does snow in Vancouver, it rarely stays for long. 


 

Preventing and Handling Frozen Water Pipes

The best way to prevent water pipes from freezing is to take steps before temperatures plummet. Before freezing temperatures arrive:

  • Disconnect all garden hoses and shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets.
  • Drain in-ground irrigation systems according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Protect outside faucets and hose bibs with insulation. Wrapping them with newspaper or rags covered with plastic is a good resort if you don't have molded foam-insulating covers, designed specifically for that task and frequently found in hardware sections and stores.
  • Seal leaks around pipes that allow cold air to seep inside.
  • Insulate pipes near outer walls, in crawl spaces, basements, garages and/or attics to guard against freezing.
  • Locate your home’s water shut-off valve and make sure it works, before it's ever needed in an emergency.
     
During freezing conditions:
  • Allow a trickle of water to drip at night from an indoor faucet, preferably one located along an exterior wall and/or farthest from where your water service connects with the main water line.
  • Open cupboard doors under sinks in kitchens and bathrooms to allow more heat to reach water pipes.
  • Vacationing? Have someone check your house to make sure the heat is still on and water is working properly. Or drain and shut off the water system, with the exception of indoor sprinkler systems.
     
If your water pipes freeze:
  • Please remember that you are responsible for protecting and repairing water pipes on your property should any breaks occur.
  • If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber.
  • NEVER try to thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame.
  • Without water and suspect a problem is at the meter? Please call the City's Operations Center at (360) 487-8177 for further assistance.

Get more winter weather preparedness tips.


 
News Archive

Update: Vancouver's major streets currently in good shape, exercise caution on side streets - 4:45 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9

Update: Crews plowing, deicing as freezing rain pellets hit Vancouver - 6:25 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 8

Update: Vancouver crews deicing, plowing as more snow arrives - 5:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7

Update: Street and Equipment Services crews deliver round-the-clock response to winter blitz - 8:32 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 6

News: City crews mobilize in advance of snow - 11:41 a.m.,, Thursday, Feb. 6