Blizzard warning: forecast warns to avoid non-essential travel on B.C. highway


sea to sky / B.C. highways / B.C. highway
Photo: J Uppal / Twitter

Environment Canada has issued public alerts for several B.C. highways as cold arctic air pushes southwards over the province.

The department warns that multiple highways will experience extreme winter weather conditions, and therefore drivers should be aware that travel will be more difficult.

The forecast notes that there is a winter storm warning in effect for the B.C. South Peace River, where a long-duration snowstorm will produce 30 to 40 cm of snowfall by Saturday. What’s more, areas near Tumbler Ridge may seem up to 50 cm.

In addition, the forecast predicates that strong winds will continue over parts of the northern interior as the frontal system collides with an advancing Arctic cold front. Further, these winds will generate poor visibilities in blowing snow.

A blizzard warning is also in effect for Highway 97 – Pine Pass, where gusty winds as well as visibility frequently near zero in snow and blowing snow are expected or occurring. As such, driving conditions are extremely hazardous in area. Winds reaching speeds of up to  of 40 km/h gusting to 60 are expected to produce extremely hazardous, near whiteout conditions.

As a result of the blizzard, Environment Canada recommends that drivers consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve. If you become stranded in a vehicle do not leave. The vehicle offers a form of protection from the cold. A single person walking through the snow is harder to find than a stranded car or truck.

There is also a winter storm warning in effect for Highway 3 – Paulson Summit to Kootenay Pass, and snowfall accumulations of up to 30 cm are expected.

A snowfall warning is also in effect for the trans-Canada Highway – Eagle Pass to Rogers Pass, with total amounts of 15 to 25 cm expected.

Drivers should be aware that weather in the mountains can change suddenly and result in hazardous driving conditions.

Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions during this time. Further, ensure that you adjust to winter driving behaviour and use winter tires and chains.