Snow, rain expected to make driving over Kootenay mountain passes nasty

Snow, rain expected to make driving over Kootenay mountain passes nasty

Environment Canada issues snowfall and storm warnings for Thursday/Friday

The weather isn’t co-operating much as thousands of Christmas travellers prepare to hit the roads over the next few days.

Environment Canada has issued both a snowfall and winter storm warning for the West Kootenay, as an approaching Pacific frontal system tracks inland later today and stalls across the southern interior tonight.

“Snow at times heavy will begin this evening and then change to showers Friday morning, with local amounts of at least 10 cm expected in West Kelowna, Peachland, Sicamous and Grand Forks,” says the snowfall alert. “General snowfall accumulations of near five centimeters are forecast elsewhere.”

A winter storm warning has also been issued for Highway 3 between the Paulson Summit and Kootenay Pass.

SEE: Environment Canada Public Weather Alerts

“Hazardous witner conditions are expected,” says the federal weather agency. “Snow at times heavy will begin this evening and persist through Friday. Snowfall amounts of 30 to 60 cm can be expected by late Friday afternoon.”

The site advises travellers to adjust their driving to changing road conditions. Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow.

“Rapidly accumulating snow will make travel difficult,” says the site. “Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow.”

East Kootenay troubles

Travellers heading east from the area won’t have it much easier.

A local highway maintenance contractor is warning that varying degrees of snowfall are expected in areas around the East Kootenay over the next few days.

Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting is anticipating between two to four centimetres of snow in the valley bottoms and between four and eight centimetres for Kimberley and Panorama.

On Friday, snow is expected to turn into rain in the valleys with an estimated precipitation of 10 to 15 millimetres, while there should be wet snow in higher elevataions of between six and 10 centimetres in the Elk Valley, Panorama and Kimberley areas.

The company reminds drivers to be cautious on the roads, as water on surfaces may freeze when temperatures drop overnight.

DriveBC isn’t reporting any problems with the highway this morning, though it says roads are snowpacked and slippery in sections.

SEE: DriveBC

Weather in the mountains can change suddenly resulting in hazardous driving conditions.

— With files from Trevor Crawley in Cranbrook

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

Just Posted

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
The City of Castlegar’s outdoor community ice rinks are now open for skating. Photo: City of Castlegar
Castlegar outdoor ice rinks open again

Hockey is not permitted at the rinks this year

A garage on 5th Street was destroyed by fire in December 2020. Photo: Glen Freeman
Castlegar Fire Department calls down, but damages up in 2020

2020 second highest year in fire losses

Castlegar Sculpturewalk 2020 – 10 Year Anniversary Sand Sculpture. (Submitted/CBT)
CBT arts and culture grant program now accepting applications

Apply through the Kootenay Columbia Cultural Alliance

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Interior Health reported two more COVID-19 deaths at Sunnybank Retirement Center in Oliver Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 claims lives of two more South Okanagan care home residents

Five residents of the Oliver care home have died since the outbreak was first declared

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

Most Read