Strong winds expected to blow through B.C.’s Southern Interior Friday evening and overnight

Environment Canada is warning of strong wind gusts Friday evening and overnight throughout B.C.’s Southern Interior. Motorists should be prepared for blowing snow and poor visibility along the Coquihalla Highway and Okanagan Connector. DriveBC

It’ll be a windy Friday evening and overnight in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Boundary regions, with gusts up to 90 kilometres an hour, as an intense cold front moves across the Southern Interior, Environment Canada is warning.

According to the national weather agency, most areas in the Southern Interior will see gusts of 70 to 80 km/h. However, wind-prone areas — such as the Coquihalla Highway, between Merritt and Kamloops, and the Okanagan Connector – may see gusts of up to 90 km/h.

READ MORE: South Coast escapes worst of forecast Pacific storm

Environment Canada says motorists travelling on highways should be prepared for strong wind gusts, which could lead to blowing snow and poor visibility.

The wind gusts are expected to diminish on Saturday morning.

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In advance of tonight’s windstorm, FortisBC is telling its customers to be prepared for power outages.

Here, according to Fortis, are a number of precautions that people can take.

Make a family emergency plan and share it with everyone in your household.

  • Post emergency and utility contact numbers in a central place in the house and store your emergency kit where you can easily find it in the dark.
  • Prepare an emergency kit with enough supplies for at least 72 hours and store it in a location you can easily find in the dark.
  • Stock up on sleeping bags, blankets and extra clothing for warmth.
  • Consider installing a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Protect your electronics, such as TVs, cable boxes, PVRs and computers into surge-protecting power bars.
  • Try to keep phones charged and conserve your cell phone batteries when a storm is in the forecast.
  • Know how to use the manual releases on automated doors.
  • Follow @FortisBC on Twitter for updates on outages and crews working in your area.

Watch for downed power lines

  • ​Storms can cause hazards such as trees falling on power lines. If you see a downed power line, keep at least 10 metres away (about the length of a school bus), because it could still be live. Even wires that have been down for a few days could still be live.
  • If a wire falls across your vehicle, don’t get out because you could become a path for electricity to touch the ground. Stay in the vehicle and call our 24-hour emergency line or 911.
  • If you must get out of your vehicle, carefully hop out and land on both feet, and then hop or shuffle until you’re at least 10 metres away from the vehicle. Then call our emergency line or 911.
  • Visit downed power lines for more tips, and call us to report electrical hazards at 1-866-436-7847.