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

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

Forty-seven vaccination clinics will open across Interior Health beginning March 15. (Canadian Press)
48 COVID-19 vaccine clinics to open across Interior Health

Select groups can book appointments starting Monday

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Jasper after he was reunited with his owners Mary and Brent Hummel. Photo: Steve Smith
New children’s book features lost Castlegar dog who swam the Columbia multiple times

Brent and Mary Hummel and Jasper tell their dramatic story

Coby Reid helped rescue this bobcat from where it had frozen to the train tracks. Photo: Coby Reid
Bobcat deliverer shares details from Kootenay train track rescue

Coby Reid helped rescue a bobcat that was frozen to train tracks near Waneta bridge

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

A woman walks through Toronto’s financial district on Monday, July 30, 2018. A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there’s still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Canadians, especially women, say gender equality not achieved in Canada: Poll

Poll results themselves underscore the challenge, with more men believing equality had been achieved

This image provided by Harpo Productions shows Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, left, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey. (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via AP)
Race, title and anguish: Meghan and Harry explain royal rift

Meghan said she struggled with concerns within the royal family about her son’s skin colour

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is administered to a personal support worker at the Ottawa Hospital on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 in Ottawa. Doctors in Alberta have signed an open letter asking for prioritized vaccination of health-care staff who work directly with patients on dedicated COVID-19 units. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
COVID vaccines for seniors in B.C.: Here’s how to sign up

Seniors 90+, Indigenous seniors 65+ and Indigenous Elders can book starting March 8

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Most Read