Parts of British Columbia could be hit by snow squalls today, making driving dangerous

Environment and Climate Change Canada indicates that snow squalls, or intense gusts of blowing snow, are expected in the 100 Mile House, North Thompson, South Thompson, North Columbia and Kinbasket areas.

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Environment and Climate Change Canada is warning that parts of British Columbia could be struck by snow squalls on Saturday, which are intense gusts of blowing snow that can drastically reduce visibility while driving.

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Areas subject to snow squall surveillance include 100 Mile House, North Thompson, South Thompson, North Columbia, and Kinbasket.

The agency says a cold front moving through the interior of British Columbia will bring strong winds and brief gusts of heavy snow that will create dangerous conditions. He warns that visibility can be drastically and suddenly reduced to near zero.

Mike Gismondi, meteorologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, says grain watches are not new to British Columbia, but they are rare and more common in other parts of Canada.

He said these intense snow flurries occur when there is a cold front with unstable air behind it, which is similar to what causes a thunderstorm.

Meanwhile, rain and wind warnings have been lifted for Metro Vancouver, but not for the Fraser Valley, which is also the subject of a winter storm warning. Wind warnings also remain in effect for Victoria and the southern Gulf Islands.

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Several areas of British Columbia continue to be subject to a winter storm warning, including the Coquihalla Highway from Hope to Merritt, where up to 35 centimeters of snow is expected today through Sunday morning.

Boundary, Elk Valley, Fraser Canyon, Nicola and Kootenay areas are also subject to a winter storm warning on Saturday. The agency says up to 40 centimeters of snow is expected in some of these areas.

Residents of these areas are urged to consider postponing non-essential trips until conditions improve.

For example, Gismondi said the Kootenays already received 10 centimeters of snow on Friday night and there is probably still 20 or 30 centimeters on the way.

He said while dry conditions would be better for the flood-ravaged areas of the province, he noted that lower frost levels mean snow stays in the mountains instead of melting in swollen rivers.

The Coquihalla Highway remains closed to traffic following damage from heavy torrential rains in November, however blowing snow could be dangerous for repair crews.

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