Up to 20 cm of snow expected on B.C.'s Interior highways Sunday

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A traffic camera on the Coquihalla, south of Kamloops, shows snow accumulating on the morning of Oct. 10. Environment Canada is warning of snow on most of the province's southern highways. (DriveBC - image credit)
A traffic camera on the Coquihalla, south of Kamloops, shows snow accumulating on the morning of Oct. 10. Environment Canada is warning of snow on most of the province's southern highways. (DriveBC - image credit)

Travellers heading to the province's interior this Thanksgiving weekend are being reminded to drive slowly and prepare for winter weather conditions.

According to a special weather statement from Environment Canada, the Coquihalla Highway from Hope to Kamloops, the Okanagan Connector from Merritt to Kelowna, and the Trans Canada Highway from Eagle Pass to Rogers Pass could see up to 20 cm of snow on Sunday.

A snowfall warning was issued for the Coquihalla between Merritt and Kamloops on Sunday morning, with the agency warning of reduced visibility along Highway 5.

"If you want to travel this weekend, there's a possibility of snow in the high terrain ... so check Drive B.C.," said Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist.

He recommended travellers also check for warnings on Environment Canada about snow on the highways before heading out, as temperatures are expected to drop in the next few weeks.

"Especially for the coast, it is leaning toward colder than average for the next month or two," Lundquist added. "But it's too soon to predict if we'll see a lot of snow."

First snow of the season

Some ski resorts in the Lower Mainland are waiting in excitement for the upcoming season after seeing a light dusting of snow on Wednesday.

Cypress, Mount Seymour, and Sasquatch resorts posted photos on social media of the season's first snow.

"Everything got quite a bit of snow and it was neat to see," Cypress Mountain Resort sales and marketing director Joffrey Koeman said.

"It melted later that afternoon but it's a good sign that winter is around the corner."

On Thursday, SilverStar Mountain Resort near Vernon, B.C., saw five centimetres of snow at the top and management is hoping most of the precipitation at the mountain in the coming weeks will be snow.

"We're hoping for a great season ... and Mother Nature does usually pull through for us, but we're doing our snow dances," SilverStar marketing director Ian Jenkins said.

The snow was causing some trouble on the roads near Merritt, B.C., on Sunday.

"In the north of Merritt right now, it's definitely a little bit of a mess," Dylan Greenwood, general manager of Reliable Towing, said Sunday. "Lots of spun-out trucks and trucks with tire chains outrunning the hills now."

Greenwood says his crews have had to rescue some cars from ditches during this first major snowfall of the season, despite the province warning drivers to put on winter tires a week ago.

"The people that don't listen and don't put on their snow tires or don't know how to put tire chains on are usually the ones that pay for it."

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