Archive for December 2018

UPDATE: Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for East Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley for Saturday night. Five to 15 centimetres will fall over the east coast and inland sections of Vancouver Island while five to 10 centimetres will fall over the Fraser Valley.

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It’s not over yet.

More snow is possible for the B.C. South Coast this weekend as a system moves over the region from the north.

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Environment Canada has released a special weather statement for Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, East Vancouver Island, Greater Victoria and the Southern Gulf Islands, saying the system will likely arrive Saturday night.

It will bring mixed precipitation, likely starting in the form of rain and shifting to snow later in the evening. Areas on higher terrain and inland should expect greater accumulations.

Five to 10 centimetres of snow is expected for East Vancouver Island  with a possible 15 centimetres falling around Nanaimo and Duncan. The Southern Gulf Islands and Greater Victoria will see less snow, between a trace and two centimetres, and the Malahat will see roughly five centimetres.

Metro Vancouver should expect only a trace to two centimetres of snow with a few more centimetres falling in eastern sections and the Fraser Valley.

The weather system will move on by Sunday morning, but another bout of snow could return on Tuesday.

Environment Canada says that system could be short-lived with warmer air and rain hitting the South Coast on Wednesday. Temperatures are expected to reach 9 C by Thursday.

Metro Vancouver has received 63.4 centimetres of snow since October, just slightly behind Edmonton’s total – 66.6 centimetres – for that period.

READ MORE:
The snow race is on: Vancouver’s snowfall total for this winter could soon surpass Edmonton’s

With this weekend’s storm, the race for winter glory could come to a head.

A series of small earthquakes off Vancouver Island in recent days likely aren’t a precursor of bigger shake ups to come, but are a reminder of the complex geological zones along coastal British Columbia, says a federal seismolgist.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported a magnitude 4.9 quake occurred Friday morning off Vancouver Island, while a 4.2 quake was recorded on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state on Thursday.

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Wednesday, there was a 4.4 temblor off western Vancouver Island and a 4.2 quake in Washington State, southwest of Seattle.

“That area has already been known to us to be very seismically active,” Honn Kao, a Natural Resources Canada research scientist, said Friday. “Having earthquakes in that particular location is not very much of a surprise to us. What happens at that place is it is a tectonically very complicated region.”

There were no reports of damage or injury in any of the recent earthquakes.

On average, Kao said there’s an earthquake in the same area every few days, but they are much too small to feel.

In 2014, there was a 6.4 magnitude quake in Nootka Sound on the central west coast of Vancouver Island and Kao said residents reported feeling motion like they were on a swing.

He said Friday’s quake was in the Pacific Ocean, 158 kilometres southwest of Port Hardy on Vancouver Island, in an earthquake zone where three geological plates meet.

The movements of the North American, Juan de Fuca and Explorer plates result in regular earthquakes, he said.

READ MORE:
Six-month military operation would follow major B.C. earthquake

Kao said it is not likely the recent earthquakes are connected to each other, noting the distances between them are too great.

Seismologists predict the movements of the Juan de Fuca and North American plates will one day result in a major earthquake on much of the West Coast, including Vancouver Island. But Kao said these quakes likely aren’t a sign of stronger shaking to come.

“At this moment we really do not have enough knowledge to predict how the big one can happen and when it is going to happen,” he said.

Kao said he agrees with the forecasts of seismologists who say the odds of the major earthquake and tsunami hitting the West Coast within the next 50 years are one-in-10.

The last major mega-thrust earthquake to occur off Vancouver Island struck more than 300 years ago on Jan. 26, 1700.

Seismologists say the magnitude 9 earthquake caused violent shaking for several minutes, followed by a tsunami wave that destroyed much of the western side of Vancouver Island.

About nine hours later, a tsunami the height of a four-storey building hit the Japanese coast on Jan. 27, 1700, destroying all in its path.

Julianne McCaffrey, spokeswoman at Emergency Management B.C., said the recent quakes are reminders that residents should prepare earthquake survival kits or check their current kits, just in case.

“Every earthquake is an example of why we as British Columbians need to be prepared,” she said. “Certainly, it’s a trigger for us to go through our plan and our kit. Just this morning before I left for work, my partner was going through our kit, again.”

McCaffrey said earthquake survival kits should have enough supplies to last about three days, including water, protein-rich foods and first-aid items.

As concern over skyrocketing hydro rates remains the focus at Queen’s Park, the leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party brought the issue to London.

Patrick Brown visited manufacturing company North Star Ice at 4 Stuart Street Saturday morning before meeting with local media to discuss Ontario hydro rates.

In a press release at the event, Brown stated “Small business owners are the backbone of our province but they’re struggling with Kathleen Wynne’s skyrocketing electricity prices.”

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    The Ontario PC leader cited the Ontario Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault’s comments on Friday when Thibeault stated that the party had made errors in some of their decisions that impacted energy rates.

    Brown spoke with AM980  Friday about the issues he’s concerned about in the energy portfolio.

    “For me, North Star is symbolic of what we’re seeing in the hydro crisis, Kathleen Wynne’s hydro crisis,” Brown said. “Here’s a company that employs local London residents and – back in 2008 before the hydro crisis – their hydro bill, at their busiest month, was $18,000 now it’s $39,000 during their busiest month. Their hydro bill, despite having a similar volume of hydro needed, is double.”

    “That’s breaking the back of businesses, it’s just not sustainable. I don’t want to see small businesses in London put under because of Kathleen Wynne’s hydro crisis.”

    Brown attributed hydro rate increases in part to the Green Energy Act and poor decisions on the part of the governing Liberal Party led by Premier Kathleen Wynne.

A crowd of drone industry leaders, politicians and residents gathered at the Foremost Aerodrome in south eastern Alberta Friday morning to watch the first Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) fly out of sight.

It’s something Transport Canada would usually frown upon but at Canada’s first active Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) test range in Foremost, Alta. it’s completely legal.

The first flight at the range is the result of over eight years of careful planning and coordinating between the Village of Foremost, Transport Canada and NAV Canada.

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Sterling Cripps, president of Canadian Unmanned Incorporated, originally brought forth the idea nearly a decade ago.

“I had a little tweak in my heart and said, ‘Wow, it actually happened,’” Cripps said.

Cripps says this is a milestone in Canadian Aviation history.

“This is the first step for legitimate operators, who are operating within the letter of the law to fly beyond visual line of sight, proving their capabilities that they can do it safely, competently, and with confidence going forward into the industry to provide the services they are capable of.”

The facility is expected to be particularly attractive for Canadian and international companies that wish to operate a drone out of sight.

Foremost Mayor Ken Kultgen supported this project since the beginning, calling it a new economic driver for the village.

“With our area, it’s hard to attract different industry that we don’t already have here, which is agriculture and oil and gas,” Kultgen said. “This seemed like it could actually be a really good fit.”

The airspace measures approximately 90 kilometres by 27 kilometres, or approximately 2,400 square kilometres up to 18,000 feet ASL.

UPDATE: The water ban was lifted Saturday morning. The latest information can be found here.

A ban on non-essential water use was put in place Friday afternoon in Strathcona County after a line break cut off the water connection into Sherwood Park.

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  • Strathcona County residents asked to conserve water, flush less

  • Residents need to do more to conserve water

    EPCOR is working to fix the problem but county officials said there is no timeline for when the repairs will be complete.

    “The water ban is necessary to ensure the water stored in our reservoirs meets the demand for critical activities such as firefighting, drinking and cooking,” a media release from the county stated Friday afternoon.

    The county has about two days of water storage. Tammy Lockhart, with the Strathcona County utilities department, said the county has options to bring in more water if needed. Those contingency plans would likely be worked on starting Saturday, she said.

    “We could look at things such as hauling water to our reservoirs from other communities if needed,” Lockhart said.

    People are asked to use as little water as possible by taking short showers, turning off the tap while brushing their teeth and postponing non-essential laundry and dishwashing.

    “Try and push off any laundry that you have to do for the weekend; try not to wash your car this weekend. If you could reduce the number of showers or baths that you’re having, anything non-essential,” Lockhart said.

    Watch below: Would you pee in the shower to conserve water?

    Truck fill stations in Strathcona County will also be closed until further notice.

    “There are other communities that people can go to for truck fills such as Fort Saskatchewan and the city (of Edmonton),” Lockhart said.

    Updates on the water ban will be available around the clock online, on the county’s social media channels and by calling 780-417-2398. Residents can also sign up for Strathcona County Alerts on the county’s website.