Bitterly cold air in the Okanagan to last all week: Environment Canada

Extreme cold, snow storm pummels the Okanagan
Environment Canada has issued extreme cold and snowfall warnings for the Okanagan Valley. Global News videographer Jim Douglas hit the streets of Kelowna on Sunday morning to capture the winter conditions.

Okanagan residents are bracing for intense, heavy snowfall and plummeting temperatures as Environment Canada warns of the first Arctic outbreak of the season to hit the valley.

A snowfall warning is in effect for the Okanagan with 5 to 10 centimetres expected to fall in Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon Sunday afternoon.

“This morning we have a low pressure system crossing the southern interior giving us some moderate snow passing through the Okanagan right now,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Eric Mak.

READ MORE: Historically low temperatures coming to much of B.C. as winter chill sets in

“Following the passage of the low [pressure system] we have an Arctic front that is going to come down from central B.C. and that will contribute to some isolated flurries for late this afternoon and early this evening.”

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The Arctic front will bring bitterly cold air to the Okanagan. A special weather statement has been issued for the Central, North and South Okanagan.

“For the Okanagan, we are looking at a wind chill close to -26 for tonight,” Mak said.

Shoveling Okanagan’s snow the right way
Shoveling Okanagan’s snow the right way

Environment Canada’s forecast says it will feel like -16 C with the windchill in Kelowna and Vernon during the day on Sunday. In Penticton, it will feel like -10.

Temperatures will plummet this week to -16 to -25 C with the windchill during the day, while overnight lows will reach -26 across the valley.

READ MORE: Highway 1 reopened near Revelstoke after avalanche control work

It will be coldest in the Yellowhead, Columbias and Southwest Interior on Monday morning, according to the advisory, with wind chill values reaching -30 C.

Mak said the freezing temperatures will stick around until Friday.

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“The Arctic air will settle down early next week and the earliest warm-up will be Friday with some clouds rolling in and the next system is expected to move in later on Friday,” he said.

Tips for driving in the snow.
Tips for driving in the snow.

Highway snow advisories

Snowfall warnings and blowing snow advisories have been issued for many B.C. Interior highway mountain passes.

Environment Canada says 15 centimetres of snow is forecast to fall on the Coquihalla Highway from Hope to Merritt, while drivers travelling along the Okanagan Connector are warned of blowing snow from Merritt to Kelowna.

READ MORE: Warning for outdoor workers as Okanagan prepares for deep freeze

“Visibility will be an issue, especially with blowing snow when visibility will be reduced greatly so I suggest drivers to be cautious when driving these highways,” Mak said.

The advisory says visibility may be significantly and suddenly reduced to near zero and drivers need to be prepared to adjust their speed with changing road conditions.

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Highway 3 will receive 10 to 15 centimetres of snow at Allison Pass, the Trans-Canada Highway at Eagle Pass will receive 5 to 10 centimetres of snow and Highway 3 at Paulson Summit will receive 15 to 25 centimetres of snowfall on Sunday.

Full information about road closures and conditions can be found on Drive BC.

You can find all of Environment Canada’s public weather statements for B.C. here.

City of West Kelowna is asking residents to be patient as plow and sanding trucks make their way across the community in the wake of the latest snowstorm
City of West Kelowna is asking residents to be patient as plow and sanding trucks make their way across the community in the wake of the latest snowstorm