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by Isabel Mosseler

Sometimes the weather is the news, and West Nipissing has had a lot of extreme weather lately. The average snow depth of 71cm was measured in the region at three snow survey sites in the North Bay area on February 2nd, setting a new snow depth record for this time of year. The North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority, which has been taking measurements since 1988, indicates this year has been pretty spectacular, both for depth and for the water content, which is 36% above normal. The results are huge snow banks everywhere, and some buildings experiencing unusual snow-load, also causing fears of spring flooding. West Nipissing Police Chief Ray St-Pierre notes that while the municipality has been doing an excellent job removing snow, it’s an uphill battle, and it would help if everyone cooperated – there’s still two months of winter to go.

St-Pierre also urges caution for those driving in these conditions. “You have to obviously abide by all the rules and regulations, but it should be heightened because of the snow banks while backing out from driveways. Always be alert, looking ahead. Is someone backing out of a driveway, someone walking out of it?” He adds that the snow banks also create narrower roads, but drivers still have to share the roadway. “Don’t assume the other person is going to share with you. Slow your driving down, make sure you’re ready to stop your vehicle at any time. If you’re at an intersection and you can’t see, edge out very slowly.” He also suggests that people take the time to back into their driveway so the front is facing the road. “When you leave in the morning, you can edge out and see. When you back out with those big snow banks, the length of your vehicle behind you is longer than your front end, and you won’t see. … It’s better to back in when you can.”

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