Rogers Pass on Dec. 19, 2019. (DriveBC photo)

UPDATED: Up to 60 cm of snow, wind expected on southern B.C. highways

Travellers being asked to use caution ahead of Christmas weekend travel

Southern B.C. is expected to be blanketed in heavy snow through the weekend – just as the winter season officially begins – sparking a number of weather warnings from Environment Canada.

“An approaching frontal system will track inland today and stall across the southern Interior tonight,” the weather bulletin reads, adding that wind and snow will make for hazardous winter conditions along major highways.

On Thursday afternoon, the weather office issued a wind warning for Victoria, forecasting gusts of 70 kilometres per hour to 90 kilometres per hour near Haro Strait. Those winds are anticipated to ease by the end of the day.

The Kootenays are expected to be hit the hardest, according to the national weather agency, with forecasters calling for 30 centimetres to as much as 60 centimetres of snow by Friday afternoon in elevated areas such as the Kootenay Pass on Highway 3, Eagle Pass to Rogers Pass along Highway 1 and the Allison Pass along Highway 3.

Meanwhile, the Okanagan Connector and Coquihalla Highway is expected to see 15 to 25 centimetres of snow by late Friday afternoon. The Elk Valley and Whistler could see 15 centimetres of snow by Friday morning.

Lower elevations in the Okanagan and Kootenays will see five centimetres at minimum. In the Fraser Valley, 70 millimetres of rain is expected.

Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist warned that those planning to travel Thursday should leave as soon as possible or risk driving through dangerous conditions.

“If people need to travel, it’s almost too late — they need to go right now. By the middle of the evening, the snow is going to start,” he said.

DriveBC and Environment Canada are urging travellers to pack emergency kits in their car, which include water, food and any necessary medications, as well as a flashlight and first-aid kit.

ALSO READ: High avalanche risk forecasted for B.C interior

Wintry weather welcome on B.C. ski hills

While the weather will likely cause commotion on major roadways, the fresh powder is being welcomed by skiing enthusiasts.

Big White said in its daily snow report that its expecting a “coating of the finest Okanagan champagne powder, right through till Sunday.” It has seen five centimetres of fresh snow in the past 24 hours.

Sun Peaks has seen 10 centimetres of snow in the past 24 hours.

Whistler Blackcomb is expecting that the mild, moist air coming through from Washington State will create better snow quality on runs and plenty of fresh snowfall in the village.

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is also expected to see periods of snow through until Saturday, before changing into isolated flurries.

On Vancouver Island, Mount Washington Alpine Resort will be opening Friday, after receiving 41 centimetres of snow in the past 48 hours.

– with a file from Kelowna Capital News


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mount Cain planning a modified winter season for north Island ski and snowboarders

Skiing is a COVID-friendly activity, but shared public spaces require adjustment

Remote B.C. tourism lodge staffed for coastal clean up instead of wilderness tours

The Great Bear Rainforest is home to exotic wildlife — and international trash

BC Hydro responds to all-day North Island power outage complaints

Dear Editor, I understand the frustration an all-day power outage like the… Continue reading

Report Card: North Island Secondary School named fourth fastest-improving school by Fraser Institute

NISS is listed among a total of 22 schools that have shown improvement in the annual report.

Town of Port McNeill’s annual Halloween fireworks show cancelled

‘This has been a horrible year for having to cancel many things that are near and dear to us’

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

B.C.’s 1st mental health and addictions minister won’t be seeking re-election

MLA Judy Darcy is the fifth cabinet minister not intending to run in the next election

Vancouver’s shuttered aquarium searching for financial solution amid pandemic

The aquarium needs about $1 million a month to cover its costs

Most Read