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Officials say the ILS System (Instrument Landing System) which was installed a year ago, has been operational throughout the entire winter. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)
Officials say the ILS System (Instrument Landing System) which was installed a year ago, has been operational throughout the entire winter. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)

Fog will remain into next week

by Kelly Hayes & Wayne Moore - Story: 44408
Jan 16, 2009 / 5:00 am

It's not what officials at the Kelowna International Airport want to hear --the fog is here to stay for a while.

Gabor Fricska with Environment Canada expects the fog to remain through the weekend and into the early part of next week.

"We have a big ridge of high pressure that has settled over Southern B.C. with lots of warm air aloft and that's created a rather sharp inversion in the valley bottom," says Fricska.

"Add in a mix of moisture from the lake and some moisture from the melting snow, we've developed thick, deep fog. Much thicker than it normally is in Kelowna."

The fog has played havoc with travel, especially at the Kelowna International Airport, where dozens of flights have been delayed or cancelled because of the fog.

Airport spokesperson, Jenelle Turpin, says this has been the worst year at the airport in terms of cancellations and delays in 10 years.

She says the ILS System (Instrument Landing System) which was installed a year years ago, has been operational throughout the entire winter.

"It is capable of landing aircraft to 251 feet and one mile of visibility -- 251 feet is the ceiling and one mile visibility is for the pilot's view out the window.," says Turpin.

"Safety is the number one priority. If the pilot is unable to see the runway on his or her final approach, they will not land the plane."

Turpin says this winter has been challenging at the airport, but adds it is the exception, rather than the rule.

Last year, 97% of our flights were successful in their landings and departures as scheduled. Only 3% were cancelled because of the weather."

She says when there is a window of opportunity, pilots do try to make an approach.

In the meantime, Turpin advises people to check the website to see the status of their flight. If the flight is cancelled and they need to re-book, that can be done on the web or through their airline.

While Kelowna is thick as pea soup, skiers at Big White are basking in the glow of sunshine.

"The layer of low cloud and fog is really only about a couple of thousand feet thick. It is a relatively shallow layer of fog and low cloud, says Fricska."

As for snow, Fricska doesn't expect we will see the white stuff for at least a week.

"As long as the ridge is in place, we won't be seeing any precipitation. Looking at the ridge starting to break down the early part of next week, so I think by the end of next week, Big White should start to get some precipitation again."


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