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

BREAKING: Protesters block access to Swartz Bay ferry terminal

Protesters standing in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en First Nation

Esquimalt explores creating portage beach for choppy Gorge waters

The portage beach would add safety to the Victoria Waterways Loop

Number of U-Hauls entering Victoria plummeted in 2019

Data compiled from two million one-way U-Haul transactions

Decline of Canadian manufacturing hurts men, according to new study

A five per cent drop in manufacturing drops the weekly wages of men by at least 6.9 per cent

Six months to Francophone Games, 600 volunteers needed

Online applications open on Jan. 14

Itska back in owner’s arms after Island man returns dog taken from Tofino

Shannon Boothman reunited with lost dog Itska on Sunday

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

How to beat Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year

Multiple factors can play a role in seasonal depression, says Fraser Health psychiatrist

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Most Read