Environment Canada warned drivers to practice caution on the Sea to Sky highway yesterday as a winter storm moved into the region.
Today, the department advises drivers to take similar precautions as the storm continues to move through the area. The forecast calls for snowfall with total amounts of 20 to 25 cm as a strong Pacific frontal system moves through the Sea to Sky region. However, the snow is predicted to turn into rain this evening on the Sea to Sky highway and later tonight in Whistler.
A number of other B.C. highways have been issued special weather statements, including Highway 3 – Paulson Summit to Kootenay Pass. A low pressure system offshore will continue to bring snow to the area, and the forecast calls for up to 15 to 25 cm of snowfall. Following this, snow will taper to scattered flurries early Friday morning.
In addition, the South Klondike Highway – Yukon border to White Pass has been issued an extreme cold warning. A period of very cold wind chills is expected with, “Strong northerly winds with gusts up to 80 km/h combined with low temperatures near minus 30 will produce wind chill values near minus 45 today, tonight and Thursday.”
The forecast predicts that wind chill values will rise on Thursday afternoon, however, to slightly above minus 40 as air temperatures rise to minus 20 degrees. As a result of the cold weather, you should dress warmly and in layers that you can remove if you get too warm. Also, the outer layer should be wind resistant.
As a result of the weather in the mountains, driving conditions may suddenly become hazardous. If visibility is reduced while driving, slow down, watch for tail lights ahead and be prepared to stop.
RCMP are asking drivers to slow down and practice caution after four fatal crashes took place on B.C. highways this past week alone. Reducing speed lowers your chance of being injured or killed in a collision. Ensure your vehicle is equipped with proper winter tread when venturing out on BC’s highways this winter.