“Whose woods these are I think I know / His house is in the village though; / He will not see me stopping here / To watch his woods fill up with snow.” (Robert Frost)

“Whose woods these are I think I know / His house is in the village though; / He will not see me stopping here / To watch his woods fill up with snow.” (Robert Frost)

First snow a record-breaker

Cranbrook and Kimberley are clearing up after the first big snowfall of the year, which may be a record for November

Accounts of how much snow fell over the weekend vary widely, with anecdotal reports of 28 centimetres in Kimberley and 19 centimetres in Cranbrook.

But Environment Canada says its weather station at Canadian Rockies International Airport only registered 8 centimetres of snow.

That’s still enough snow to be among the biggest dumps recorded in November in the area, according to Doug Lundquist, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

“Normally in November we get about 24 centimetres of snow at the airport in Cranbrook. So it’s a fair chunk of the total precipitation,” he said Monday. “It definitely is in the top amount one might expect.”

While historical records show that on November 3, 1984, there was 29 centimetres of snow on the ground in Cranbrook, that was probably more than one storm over several days, Lundquist explains.

The previous record for a one-off snow event on November 3, like the one we experienced this weekend, was in 1971 where 6.6 centimetres fell.

The snow came from a low-pressure system over the region this weekend.

“We had a low pressure system cross the southern part of the province on the weekend,” said Lundquist. “It came with much cooler and unsettled air mass.”

The bad news is: this storm is signalling the start of winter.

“(The snow) is going to stick. Even though it will settle a bit and try to melt if we get a little bit of sun coming through, we have another system for tomorrow and we could get some more flurries, and then something else towards Thursday that could give us another dump.”

Meanwhile, the City of Cranbrook has swung into action to clear the snow off roadways and sidewalks.

“During and following major snowfalls, our snow removal operation runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week and operates with a small fleet of vehicles: four salt/sand trucks with belly plows, two graders and two loaders,” explained Joe McGowan, Director of Public Works. “With this schedule and the equipment we have, it is reasonable to expect most areas of the city to be cleared within three or four days of a snowfall, depending on the amount of snow and how fast it comes down.”

The city is asking residents to be diligent about snow removal.

“Regularly clearing of ice and snow from your sidewalks and driveways will allow much easier access to your property by the fire department, RCMP or paramedics should an accident or other emergencies happen,” said Cranbrook Fire and Emergency Services Chief Wayne Price. “It also will make walking easier for our local mail and newspaper carriers and the public at large.”

Residents are also encouraged to avoid pushing or blowing snow from their sidewalks, driveways and any windrows back into the street after the city plows have been by.

“It creates issues for our snow removal crews, as the plow will need to make an additional run down your street to clean it up. That additional run increases the city’s costs with additional staff time, fuel and equipment wear and tear, not to mention delays in getting to other areas of the city that also need to be plowed,” said McGowan.

To see Cranbrook’s snow and ice control policy, visit www.cranbrook.ca.

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