First snowfall on the way to the Okanagan

First snowfall incoming

Okanagan residents should prepare for the first snowfall for the year, which is likely to start Thursday night and run through much of the weekend.

Environment Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan tells Castanet an Omega block from the Pacific Coast has been keeping cold temperatures and precipitation out of the Interior for much of November, but that that is about to change.

“We will start to see the impacts this evening and the temperatures are cooperating for a snow event,” he said, noting that flurries are expected to arrive at around 8 p.m. Thursday.

“The chances of them for this evening are only at 30 per cent but as we get deeper into the evening closer to midnight that’s when we start to see a better chance of light snow and kind of tapering off by 8 a.m.”

It's not clear if the snowfall on Thursday evening will amount to much, but a few centimetres may fall Friday and Saturday.

As temperatures are expected to hover above and below zero throughout the weekend, people should be aware of the potential for freezing rain and slippery conditions on the road.

Castellen describes the snow event as a system with a few different pulses expected in quick succession, leading to multiple snowfall events over the next four or five days for much of the Okanagan.

“Then slowly the freezing levels are going to rise and we’ll see that particularly from Monday into Tuesday as a relatively strong storm affects the coast and it will move into the Interior as well, so the warmth will bring the temperatures up to four or five degrees.”

It could snow about five centimetres Sunday into Monday.

“That’s when things get a little trickier,” Castellen said, suggesting there could be a rain on snow event Monday and Tuesday that could make for a bit of a “slushy mess.”

The City of Kelowna says they’re well prepared for snow this year, with more than 20,000 tons of sand at the ready and will prioritize high traffic roads like Gordon Drive and Richter Street.

You can help the city keep the roads clear and safe in a variety of ways, including:

  • moving your car off the street when the snow falls
  • clearing the walkways in and around your property
  • helping your neighbours with shovelling and cleaning
  • The city says residents have an important responsibility to help support snow clearing efforts in their neighbourhoods.

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