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Environment Canada issues snowfall statement for mountain passes in B.C.’s Southern Interior

According to Environment Canada, rain on Saturday afternoon will change to snow that night or Sunday morning, with 10-15 cm expected. Global News / Skytracker

If you plan on travelling to or from B.C.’s Southern Interior this Thanksgiving weekend, be prepared for snow.

On Friday, Environment Canada issued a special weather statement calling for snow on most southern highway passes.

A graphic showing projected snowfall areas along mountain passes in B.C.’s Southern Interior. Global News / Skytracker

“Precipitation from the system will start as rain on Saturday afternoon, and then as snow levels drop, it will change to snow on Saturday night or Sunday morning,” the national weather agency said in its statement at 12:39 p.m.

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“The snow is expected to continue through Sunday evening. Total snow accumulations of 10 to 15 cm can be expected, with the highest amounts over higher elevations.”

Read more: Winter tires mandatory on most B.C. highways starting Oct. 1

The highway passes include:

  • Coquihalla, from Hope to Kamloops
  • Highway 3, Paulson Summit to Kootenay Pass
  • Okanagan Connector, from Merritt to Kelowna
  • Trans-Canada Highway, from Eagle Pass to Rogers Pass

Global News meteorologist Kristi Gordon said ‘the precipitation will start as rain and then transition to snow near the summits between 1,400 and 1,800 metres as early as Saturday evening. Some areas may not see the transition to snow until Sunday morning.”

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The Coquihalla has a peak elevation of 1,230 metres, while the Okanagan Connector tops out at 1,717 metres.

On Highway 3, Paulson Summit is 1,446 metres, while Kootenay pass is 1,781 metres.

On the Trans-Canada Highway, Eagle Pass is 550 metres while Rogers Pass is 1,330 metres.

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On Oct. 1, provincial rules came into effect that snow tires or winter chains are mandatory on most routes in B.C., until March 31, though some routes are extended until April 30.

Global News. Global News

“The start of the snow season can be dangerous because many drivers are not aware snow is possible and have not yet changed over to snow tires,” said Gordon.

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“Travellers should be warned it is required by law to have snow tires if you are travelling any of the mountain highways as of October 1st.”

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