Vancouver encourages community to prepare for extreme weather

Photo by Andi Schwartz
Photo by Andi Schwartz

In the event of a cold front bringing the first potential ice and/or snow, the city offers reminders of how to stay safe 

VANCOUVER – The city of Vancouver’s Public Works Department is preparing for expected inclement weather and asks that the community get ready too. In addition to the “atmospheric river” rolling into the region this weekend, a potential cold front could result in icy or snowy conditions next week. In the event of a cold front bringing the first potential ice and/or snow, the city offers these reminders of how to stay safe and what to expect during an extreme weather event.  


With more than 1,900 lane miles of paved streets in Vancouver, crews and equipment are strategically deployed in zones throughout the community to efficiently maximize response to snow, sleet and icy conditions. When forecasts and the elements indicate slick or icy conditions, crews may apply deicing solution to dry pavement as a preemptive measure. Too much rain will dilute and wash away the deicer. Timing and being prepared for whatever the weather brings is a big part of keeping streets passable.  

Learn about the city’s deicing response. The city’s priority is to keep open the critical network of streets that connect police, fire and emergency medical service. Due to these demands, limited resources, and difficulties posed by multiple driveways and parked cars, neighborhood residential streets are not plowed or deiced. A street prioritization map is available.  


Community members and businesses are responsible for keeping adjacent sidewalks passable through snow and ice, as well as managing their driveways and private parking lots. Clearing sidewalks around homes and businesses is not just the law; it’s also the right thing to do for our community’s safety and accessibility. Those who can are encouraged to lend a helping hand to neighbors that may need assistance with sidewalks and other services during severe weather. 

Garbage and recycling services 

Snowy or icy conditions may impact garbage, recycling and organics collections. Consider having spare containers handy that can be used to hold extra garbage and/or recycling materials should service be delayed due to hazardous road conditions. 

Customers can sign up to receive service alerts using the RecycleRight app.  

Private water pipes/plumbing 

Owners are responsible for water pipes and plumbing on their private properties and in buildings and homes. The best time to prevent water pipes from freezing and bursting is before temperatures plummet. Vancouver Public Works Water Utility recommends taking time now to disconnect garden hoses and insulate outside faucets/hose bibs, as well as water pipes near outer walls and in crawl spaces, basements, garages and/or attics. Outdoor sprinkler systems should be prepped for cold weather according to manufacturers’ directions. 

Staying prepared 

Community members are encouraged to have traction devices, snow shovels, environmentally friendly deicer and emergency kits stocked and ready. 

Help and more Information  

For weather-related city issues that need an urgent response, such as traffic signal outages, downed trees or broken water mains, call the Public Works Operations Center at (360) 487-8177. For downed power lines, call Clark Public Utilities at (360) 992-8000. Severe weather updates are also posted on Public Works’ Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Information provided by city of Vancouver.

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