A blast of arctic air is hitting the Lower Mainland this week, with overnight lows of around minus six in some places.
The changes in temperature are already creating havoc. A water main burst along Ioco Road in Port Moody overnight, sending debris down local driveways.
“It was like rocks and water and silt and it was incredible. It was overflowing our driveway, and it was just like a river going through our driveway,” says Port Moody resident Rita Lafebvre.
City crews worked to repair the broken pipe, but say such incidents can be expected.
“It’s not uncommon for this time of year for a watermain break to occur, and it’s usually due to the weather change and the water temperature change,” says Paul LeBlanc, Port Moody’s Utilities Supervisor.
The icy temperatures have prompted emergency shelters to open their doors and welcome more guests.
The Union Gospel Mission says it has extra staff and beds on standby for up to 20 people.
“For you and I, this cold weather might just be uncomfortable, but for somebody who doesn’t have those things when the temperatures drop, it could be dangerous, it could be threatening,” says the UGM’s Jeremy Hunka.
The UGM is also looking for more donations of coats, sleeping bags and waterproof boots, which it distributes through a van known as the Mobile Mission. The vehicle is loaded with snacks and soup for those who don’t make it indoors at night.
“We’ll go off the beaten path, to bridges, parks, and alleyways – places where people are in need. They may be uncomfortable in shelters, or they don’t know these services exist, so we go to them, keep them warm and safe especially when temperatures are this cold,” said Hunka.
According to Environment Canada, the cold temperatures will likely remain in place until New Year’s Day.