Environment Canada has continued its special weather statement for snow on Friday for nearly all of southern B.C.
Issued Wednesday and then again on Thursday, the statements stretch from eastern Vancouver Island to the Alberta border, and north to the Cariboo region.
The anticipated snowfall totals vary by region, ranging from a few centimetres on Vancouver Island to 5-15 cm in the Southern Interior.
“A low-pressure system will pass just off Vancouver Island on Friday morning and move onto the Washington coast Friday evening,” said Environment Canada.
“Meanwhile, modified Arctic air will advance southward through the B.C. Interior. By Friday afternoon, the Arctic front is expected to reach Kamloops and pile up against the east side of the Rockies.”
The weather agency also said, “with a somewhat cool air mass already in place, widespread snow is expected from Bella Coola and Whistler eastward to 100 Mile and the southwest Interior, and further to the Kootenays and parts of the Columbias.”
For Metro Vancouver, Environment Canada says the onset of precipitation combined with falling temperatures will bring a risk of wet snow to neighbourhoods and roadways above 300 metres.
For Vancouver Island, tricky driving conditions are expected for Highway 19 between Campbell River and Port Hardy; Highway 28 to Gold River; and Highway 4 between Coombs and Port Alberni.
“On the bright side, skiers and snowboarders should be rejoicing,” said Global BC senior meteorologist Kristi Gordon. “This could be the first of many snow producing systems this year.
“The atmospheric pattern right now looks very much like a typical La Nina winter pattern. According to NOAA, we have an 85 per cent chance La Nina will last throughout the winter.”
Gordon added that “snow on the South Coast this early in the season does happen, but not very often. Many will be caught off guard. Thankfully, it will be mainly over higher elevations above 300 metres. But it will be a good wake up call. It’s time to get those snow tires on.”
Environment Canada added that following Friday’s snowfall, a drying trend will start on Saturday, as Arctic air spreads through the rest of southern B.C.
Temperatures of 5-to-8 degrees below seasonal normals are expected for the South Coast, and 10 degrees below normal for the Interior.
Snowfall warnings were also issued for Interior mountain passes: The Coquihalla, Okanagan Connector and Highway 3 (Allison Pass, Paulson Sumit Kootenay Pass).
Environment Canada said motorists can expect 15-20 cm on those routes. For the Trans-Canada Highway (Eagle Pass to Rogers Pass), 5-15 cm is expected.
The national agency has three grades of weather alerts: statement, watch and, lastly, warning.
In anticipation of winter driving, Kelowna RCMP issued a statement for motorists, saying it’s time to shift into winter-driving mode.
“At this time of year, road conditions can be extremely unpredictable,” said Sgt. Mark Booth of the Municipal Traffic Section.
“Getting your vehicle winter-ready now means safer and less stressful driving when the snow and ice arrive in the Okanagan.”
For more about winter driving, click here.