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

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

Scott Saywell, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ superintendent and CEO, has seen his contract renewed for four years, the district announced Wednesday. (SD68 YouTube screenshot)
Nanaimo school district renews superintendent’s contract for four years

‘Singing superintendent’ Scott Saywell under contract through 2024-25 school year

Cyclists pick up swag and cycling trail maps at city Bike to Work Week ‘celebration station’ a few years ago. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo’s active transportation plan will be about more than infrastructure

City working on goals to double walking trips and quintuple cycling and busing trips

Nanaimo RCMP seek public assistance after numerous tire slashings between Jan. 12-14. (News Bulletin file)
20 tires punctured in ‘slashing spree’ in Nanaimo

Nanaimo RCMP ask for any tips about Jan. 12-14 incidents in Country Club and Boxwood areas

Kinsmen Participark in Beban Park will be closed next week so city workers can remove dangerous trees and invasive plant species. The work is the start of an improvement project that includes replacing signs and fitness stations in the spring. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo fitness park to close for removal of hazard trees and invasive plants

Tree cutting to start in Beban Park’s Kinsmen Participark as part of improvement project

Police hope to find the owners of two canoes found at Descanso Bay on Gabriola Island. (Photo submitted)
RCMP seek owners of canoes found on Gabriola Island that possibly came from Nanaimo

Two older canoes, found by police at Descanso Bay, could have washed ashore with recent storms

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Dr. Shannon Waters, the medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region, is reminding people to stay the course with COVID-19 measures. (File photo)
‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds

Limit social activity, wash hands, wear a mask, and isolate if you feel sick

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
BCAFN condems racism against Cowichan Tribes after COVID-19 outbreak

“Any one of us could do everything right and still catch the virus”: Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Nursing staff at West Coast General Hospital celebrate the announcement of a $6.25-million expansion of the emergency department that will start in March 2021. (File photo)
B.C. health ministry commits $6.25M to hospital expansion in Port Alberni

Plans for larger emergency department have been on hold since 2015

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government announces creation of B.C.’s first anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Most Read