Emergency crews were kept busy throughout Sunday night as the snow that fell throughout the day transitioned into freezing rain in the evening.
Highway 1 both east and west of Chilliwack was hard hit, as vehicles left the road or drivers negotiated their way around jack-knifed trucks. One report indicated there were more than seven vehicles in the ditch between Abbotsford and Chilliwack by 9:30 p.m.
Motorists near Hope weren’t so fortunate. One person died in a three-vehicle crash on Highway 1 near Flood-Hope Road. RCMP say two eastbound vehicles collided, sending one vehicle into the ditch and another through the median where it crashed head on with a westbound vehicle. Five people in the first two vehicles escaped serious injury. However, of the three people in the westbound car, two were taken to hospital with serious, but non-life threatening injuries. The 71-year-old female rear passenger was pronounced dead at the scene.
At the time of the crash both east and west bound lanes of Highway 1 were completely shut down for a period of 3 1/2 hours for investigation and removal of the vehicles.
The road, weather and visibility conditions were poor at the time of the crash with blowing snow.
Any witnesses who may have information on this crash are requested to contact the RCMP Fraser Valley Traffic Services at (604)702-4039.
The storm – the second major snowfall event in a week – closed schools across Chilliwack Monday. UFV’s Chilliwack campus remained open, but its centre in Hope was closed.
By midnight Sunday the snow and freezing rain had changed to rain, although Monday morning a snow and freezing rain warnings issued by Environment Canada remained in effect. Total snowfall accumulation for the storm is estimated at 27 centimetres.
Rain is expected to continue throughout the week, prompting the City of Chilliwack to remind residents to keep catch basins clear of ice so water can drain properly from their streets.
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