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Highway 33 east of Kelowna reopened to traffic, but Highway 3 east of Osoyoos now closed

Weather conditions along Highway 33 east of Kelowna on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020.
Weather conditions along Highway 33 east of Kelowna on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. Global News

Police in the Okanagan are asking motorists to slow down and take care on area highways.

The warnings come following the closure, then reopening of Highway 33 east of Kelowna, and the closure of Highway 3 east of Osoyoos.

The Southern Interior is experiencing its first major snowfall of the season, and Environment Canada is projecting varying amounts of snow, with up to 10 centimetres in the valley bottom and 15-20 cm along mountain passes.

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Read more: B.C.’s Southern Interior undergoing first major snowfall of season

Just before 12 p.m. on Friday, Kelowna RCMP said Highway 33 near Big White Ski Resort has been shut down because of weather concerns.

“Conditions are extremely icy, and numerous vehicles have slid off the road or collided,” said Kelowna RCMP. “Motorists are advised that travel past Idabel Lake area is not currently possible.”

Police said information regarding the severity of the collisions wasn’t known at the time.

However, just after 1 p.m., police said the highway was reopened, but that road conditions are extremely icy, and “police advise motorists should slow down and drive to weather conditions.”

Click to play video 'Kelowna Weather Forecast: October 22' Kelowna Weather Forecast: October 22
Kelowna Weather Forecast: October 22 – Oct 22, 2020

In the South Okanagan, the Anarchist Mountain Fire Department said on a social media post that Highway 3 is closed between Osoyoos and Nine Mile.

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“The concrete, no-post barriers are currently not in place due to paving and the slippery road conditions could cause a serious incident,” said the fire department.

“Please stay off the highway at this time. Closure is expected to last a few hours until it warms up a bit.”

Meanwhile, in Vernon, the city said work crews are out across the city responding to the snowfall.

“There have been reports of vehicle incidents today, as drivers get used to winter conditions again,” the city said in an email.

“Our fire rescue crews have noticed that while they’ve been on scene, many people are still driving quite fast and failing to slow down. This is dangerous for our emergency personnel and the public.”

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Click to play video 'Snow, cold front expected to chill southern B.C.' Snow, cold front expected to chill southern B.C.
Snow, cold front expected to chill southern B.C – Oct 22, 2020

The city is asking motorists to slow down and adjust their driving habits to meet the road conditions.

In West Kelowna, Westside Road is closed because of an accident, with a vehicle down an embankment.

An accident has closed part of Westside Road in West Kelowna.
An accident has closed part of Westside Road in West Kelowna. Global News

West Kelowna Fire Rescue says via a long-line rescue, it extracted the single, male occupant from the scene, and that he was transported to hospital with what were believed to be minor injuries.

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The road is expected to reopen shortly.