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B.C. drivers warned of ‘extreme’ highway weather conditions as winter storm hits Southern Interior

Click to play video: 'A heavy snowfall in the Okanagan leads to flight delays and cancellations at Kelowna International Airport and makes driving treacherous' A heavy snowfall in the Okanagan leads to flight delays and cancellations at Kelowna International Airport and makes driving treacherous
WATCH: A heavy snowfall in the Okanagan leads to flight delays and makes driving treacherous – Jan 6, 2020

Drivers venturing out on several major British Columbia highways are being told to prepare for “extreme weather conditions” on Tuesday as a winter storm continues to hit parts of B.C.’s Southern Interior.

In particular, DriveBC issued travel advisories for the three major routes between the Okanagan and Lower Mainland.

READ MORE: Major snow storm wallops B.C. Southern Interior, highway mountain passes

Drivers on the Coquihalla on Tuesday morning are being warned to expect heavy snow and blowing snow limiting visibility between Hope and Merritt.

Environment Canada is predicting five to 10 centimetres of snow will fall on that section of highway on Tuesday, with a risk of freezing rain on Tuesday morning.

READ MORE: City of Kelowna parking ban on snow routes now in effect

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Similar travel advisories were issued for Highway 1 between Hope and Lytton and Highway 3 between Hope and Princeton, where DriveBC says heavy to moderate snowfall is also hampering visibility.

In the Kootenays, Highway 3 is closed Tuesday morning west of Creston through the Kootenay Pass due to a high risk of avalanches.

Environment Canada is predicting another 15 to 25 centimetres of snow in that area on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Okanagan weather — Snowfall warning for up to 25 centimetres of snow

DriveBC is suggesting motorists travelling from Creston to Nelson take Highway 3A and the Kootenay Lake Ferry.

Due to the wallop of winter weather, the province is also planning to close the Coquihalla between Hope and Merritt on Wednesday for four hours to do avalanche control.

READ MORE: Low visibility causing flight delays and cancellations at Kelowna International Airport

The closure is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday.

The transportation ministry said the avalanche control is necessary due to the recent heavy snowfall.

The province said crews will be working by helicopter to “remove weak layers of snow and ice, and reduce the overall depth of the snow pack” to maintain the safety of the highway.

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