Connector reopened

UPDATE: 10:15 p.m.

DriveBC reports that the westbound lanes of Highway 97C east of Brenda Mine Road reopened at 10 p.m.

UPDATE: 7:40 p.m.

The westbound lanes of the Okanagan Connector are closed just east of the Brenda Mine Road exit due to a vehicle crash. 

DriveBC estimates the highway will reopen by 8:30 p.m. 

The nature of the crash or condition of those involved is unknown at this time. 

UPDATE: 6:40 p.m.

Highway 33, 13 kilometres east of Kelowna, has been reopened after a crash closed the highway earlier Thursday afternoon. 

UPDATE: 5:50 p.m.

While snow in the Okanagan Valley is wreaking havoc on lower-elevation roads, mountain passes in the region are also extremely slippery. 

The Okanagan Connector is reportedly littered with spun-out vehicles, including jack-knifed semi trucks, west of the Brenda Mine area. About 18 centimetres of snow fell on the Connector throughout the day.

Meanwhile, a crash has closed Highway 33 13 kilometres east of Kelowna, near Heartland Kelowna. DriveBC has no estimate of when the highway will reopen, but the closure can be avoided using Gowdie and Cardinal Creek roads.

In Vernon, police have closed Baker Hogg Road at the top and bottom of the hill due to "extremely hazardous winter conditions."

UPDATE: 5 p.m.

Weather fouls traffic for Thursday rush-hour after a major accident at Heartland Ranch on Highway 33. Castanet readers are reporting the area is closed and Goudie Road is extremely slippery as of Thursday at 5 p.m.

UPDATE: 3:35 p.m.

Heavy snow continues to fall in the Okanagan Valley, prompting the City of West Kelowna to urge “extreme caution” on roads if travel is necessary.

The city has also asked residents to keep parked vehicles off the streets to allow plows easier access to roads.

West Kelowna says the streets will be plowed in order of priority.

“The top priority is clearing arterial and collector roads, transit routes and roads with steep grades,” said Kirsten Jones with the City of West Kelowna. “The second priority is school zones, school bus routes, town centres and population centres and the final priority is all other local roads.

“Residents on priority 3 roads are asked to be patient, these roads will be visited by the plow once all other roadways have been cleared.”

UPDATE: 2:40 p.m.

As snow continues to cause treacherous road conditions in Kelowna, air travel has suffered from the storm as well.

As of 2:30 p.m., an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle scheduled to arrive at YLW at 3:03 p.m. has been cancelled, while three other arrivals are delayed.

A 2p.m. departure bound for Edmonton was also cancelled, while two other departures are currently delayed.

Flurries are expected to continue into the evening.  

UPDATE: 1:50 p.m.

Several crashes are reported along Glenmore Road in Kelowna as snow continues to fall.

A garbage truck was partially in the ditch in North Glenmore early this afternoon.

Four more crashes were reported between Kelowna and the Lake Country end of Glenmore.

Even a snow plow was in the ditch.

UPDATE: 1:15 p.m.

About 600 FortisBC customers in the Scotty Creek area of Kelowna were without power for about an hour this afternoon. Power went out shortly after 12:15 when a vehicle ran into a power pole.

Power was restored again at about 1:15

UPDATE: 10 a.m.

Police responded to 18 crashes in Kelowna by 6 a.m. this morning – and the reports continue to grow. 

Const. Lesley Smith says Highway 33, Glenmore, Belgo and Springfield roads had a high number of traffic incidents related to poor road conditions.   

RCMP remind the public to drive cautiously. 

  • 1. Plan ahead: Give yourself extra time to get to your destination. Leave 15-30 minutes earlier than you would normally. Plan your route.
  • 2. Adjust driving habits: Reduce speed and increase the distance between your car and the car in front of you. Increase your braking distance and apply brakes slowly and smoothly.
  • 3. Prepare your vehicle: Ensure your vehicle is "winterized." This includes adequate winter tires, wiper blades, topped up wiper fluid reservoir and an emergency kit (blankets, first aid, shovel, jumper cables).

ORIGINAL: 7:40 a.m.

More snow greeted Okanagan residents as they woke up Thursday morning.

As much as five centimetres, or more, has fallen across the Okanagan making roads and highways slick.

Motorists are advised to take it slow, especially on hills and along the highways.

A two vehicle crash has already been reported at Lakeshore and Barnaby near Summerhill Winery in Kelowna. One vehicle ran into a power pole.

No injuries were reported.

In Vernon, transit service has been cancelled until crews are able to clear the roads.

Highway 97 is reported as slushy and slippery in most areas of the valley.

Environment Canada says the snow is expected to let up by the afternoon. After that, a 40 per cent chance of flurries the balance of the day.

Further accumulations of two to four centimetres can be expected.

No closures to report on highways across the province from the snow.

Snow is forecast to fall on all highways across the southern interior for much of the day. Highways are reporting compact and slippery sections.

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