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Intense weather forecast for B.C.’s Southern Interior mountain passes

Click to play video: 'B.C.’s Coquihalla Highway could open to commercial traffic by January, 2022'
B.C.’s Coquihalla Highway could open to commercial traffic by January, 2022
WATCH: Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said Thursday the Coquihalla Highway could reopen to commercial traffic by the end of next January. He said there are about 20 sites along the route that have been heavily damaged – Nov 25, 2021

Intense weather is forecast for mountain passes across the Southern Interior Friday, prompting Environment Canada to send out a series of warnings.

For the Trans Canada Highway, from Eagle Pass to Rogers Pass, Environment Canada’s winter storm warning was extended Friday, due to anticipated hazardous conditions.

READ MORE: B.C.’s Highway 1 reopens between Abbotsford and Chilliwack

Similarly, Highway 3 from Paulson Summit to Kootenay Pass is expected to get heavy snow.

Both are expected to see 10 centimetres more in the day ahead, but snowfall is expected to taper off throughout the day.

Click to play video: 'B.C. floods: Province continues to open vital highway corridors: transportation minister'
B.C. floods: Province continues to open vital highway corridors: transportation minister

The already beleaguered portion of the Coquihalla Highway, from Hope to Merritt, is also going to be hit by another rainstorm Saturday and Sunday, putting previously damaged infrastructure under further pressure.

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“Another front will approach the south coast on Saturday. Rain will begin Saturday afternoon and become heavy Saturday night,” reads the forecast. “Total rainfall amount up to 60 millimeters is forecast.”

Strong warming will accompany this system, causing snow levels to rise well above the mountain tops on Saturday and Sunday. Snowmelt will contribute to runoff, increasing the risk of flooding and possibly impacting vulnerable landscapes and infrastructure.

READ MORE: Current status of B.C.’s major highways and roadways as routes remain closed

The province announced Thursday that about 20 sites along Highway 5 were damaged or washed away during the storm from Nov. 13 to 15. It adds up to around  130 kilometres that have been affected, with five bridges that have either collapsed or been heavily damaged.

Click to play video: 'B.C. floods: Government updates the province as flooding cleanup continues'
B.C. floods: Government updates the province as flooding cleanup continues

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