Precautionary highway closures start at 2 p.m.

Highway closures in place

UPDATE 11:40 a.m.

The B.C. government will be closing all the highway routes between the Lower Mainland and B.C. Interior this afternoon as a precaution as more rain hammers the province.

Highway 3 between Hope and Princeton will be closed at 2 p.m. today

Highway 1 in the Fraser Canyon and Highway 1 between Popkum and Hope will be closed at 2 p.m. today.

Highway 99 between Pemberton and Lillooet will be closed at 4 p.m. today.

In addition to weather concerns, the closure of Highway 1 between Popkum and Hope is necessary due to reservoir releases by BC Hydro, crucial to protect the Jones Lake Reservoir, which is also being impacted by the heavy rain events.

The highway infrastructure in these areas is extremely vulnerable following recent storm events. More heavy rain in the forecast poses an additional risk.

The duration of closures will depend on the weather. The closures of these three highways will be re-evaluated on Sunday morning, with the highways reopened when safe to do so.

The provincial government is also slated to provide its next update on the flooding situation at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.

ORIGINAL 11 a.m.

Weather warnings are in place for several Interior highways.

Environment Canada has issued weather statements for expected heavy rain and snow on Interior mountain passes.

Heavy rain tonight and Sunday with potential impacts to vulnerable landscape and infrastructure is expected on the Coquihalla from Hope to Merritt and Highway 3 - Hope to Princeton via Allison Pass.

“Another front will approach the South Coast today. Rain will begin this afternoon and become heavy tonight. Total rainfall amounts near 40 to 60 mm are expected over western and upslope sections of the highways. Areas east of the Coquihalla Summit are expected to receive lesser amounts,” a statement on the Environment Canada website said.

“Strong warming will accompany this system causing freezing levels to rise well above the mountain tops this afternoon and Sunday. Snowmelt will contribute to runoff, increasing the risk of flooding and possibly impacting vulnerable landscapes and infrastructure.”

As a precaution, the B.C. government is closing several major highways connecting the Interior and the coast Saturday.

In a press release Friday afternoon, the Ministry of Transportation said Highway 3 between Hope and Princeton and Highway 99 north of Pemberton will be closed Saturday afternoon. Additionally, Highway 1 through the Fraser Canyon, which has been opened between Hope and Boothroyd, will be closed.

A storm warning is also in effect from Eagle Pass to Rogers Pass on Highway 1.

“A strong front will bring heavy snow to Eagle Pass to Rogers Pass, beginning this morning. 25 cm of snow is expected near the pass before changing to rain after midnight as freezing levels rise,” the statement said.
“After the snow changes to rain, an additional 20 to 30 mm is expected overnight through Sunday.

Consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve. Rapidly accumulating snow could make travel difficult over some locations. Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow.”

For a full list of weather statements, click here.

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