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Overnight flurries on mountain passes in B.C.’s Southern Interior

Highway 5 (Coquihalla) southbound at Zopkios Rest Area, near the Coquihalla Summit, looking northeast, at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, May 3.
Highway 5 (Coquihalla) southbound at Zopkios Rest Area, near the Coquihalla Summit, looking northeast, at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, May 3. DriveBC

A vigorous spring storm walloped parts of the B.C. Interior Saturday night, bringing snowfall to high elevation highway mountain passes.

Between two and four centimetres of snow fell over higher elevations of the Coquihalla Highway, from Hope to Merritt. The Okanagan Connector recorded 12 centimetres of snow at the Pennask Summit and Highway 3 saw a few centimetres of snow as well at Allison Pass, according to Environment Canada.

READ MORE: Snow alert issued for mountain passes, wind gusts in B.C.’s Southern Interior

Lisa Erven, meteorologist with the national weather service, says more precipitation is forecast for Sunday afternoon with bursts of flurries expected on some interior highway passes.

“What we’ve got in behind this front is a cool, stable air pass so our freezing levels remain seasonably low, with the forecast for [Sunday] afternoon, we have the chance for some convection developing, so the chance for some rain showers in the valleys,” Erven told Global News.
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She said it’s not unusual to see overnight flurries on high elevation routes at this time of year.

READ MORE: Environment Canada ends wind warning for south coast

“During these spring months we really are in that transition between winter and summer, so these events become less and less frequent the later we get into spring, but not all that uncommon during these months,” Erven said.

On Sunday morning, DriveBC warned commuters of mud and debris forcing the closure of the Trans-Canada highway west of Revelstoke. The roadway was reopened to single lane alternating traffic at Eagle River by around 10 a.m.

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AIM Roads, the region’s highway maintenance contractor, warned drivers of water pooling on roads during the height of the storm.

A power outage affecting 1,300 customers in Chase, B.C. was reported around 10 p.m. Power has since been restored.

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For the latest road conditions, visit DriveBC.

A special weather statement remained in effect for the Boundary, East Columbia, Kootenay Lake, Shuswap, West Columbia and West Kootenay regions as of Sunday morning, but was rescinded by the afternoon.

“This afternoon, an unstable airmass will bring a chance of occasionally heavy flurries and a risk of thunderstorms. The flurries will be highly localized but could result in poor visibility and rapidly accumulating snow,” the weather statement said.

“Weather in the mountains can change suddenly resulting in hazardous driving conditions.”

For more about public alerts from Environment Canada, click here.