Atmospheric river to bring heavy snow, rain to BC highways - overnight closure on Hwy 1

Freezing rain risk on hwys

UDPATE 6:15 p.m.

Weather warnings are now in place for most highway mountain passes in the B.C. Southern Interior.

A freezing rain warning has been put in place for the Okanagan Connector.

Environment Canada says there is a potential for ice-covered and slippery surfaces on Highway 97C starting this evening through to Tuesday morning.

“An atmospheric river over the B.C. South Coast is bringing snow to the area. Snow will transition to freezing rain this evening as warm air aloft arrives. By early Tuesday morning, the warming will have eroded the cold air and all precipitation should be rain or showers,” says Environment Canada.

On the Coquihalla Highway between Hope and Merritt, between 60 and 80 mm of rain should fall, creating an increased risk of local flooding and landslides.

Elsewhere in the B.C. Interior, Highway 1 will be closed in the Fraser Canyon between Boothroyd and Siska, south of Lytton, starting at 7 p.m.

The closure is precautionary in case heavy precipitation overwhelms the area affected by this summer's Kookipi Creek wildfire. A geotechnical assessment will take place in the morning prior to reopening.

Wintery conditions are also expected Monday night into Tuesday morning in the West and North Columbia and on Highway 1 between Salmon Arm and Golden.

Environment Canada says between 10 and 15 cm of snow could fall in the area along with ice pellets and a risk of freezing rain. Up to 25 cm snowfall is expected over higher terrain such as Rogers Pass and Yoho Park.

On Highway 3 between Grand Forks and Creston, between 75 and 100 mm of rain could fall between tonight and Thursday morning. There is also a risk of freezing rain along that corridor.

UPDATE: 11:20 a.m.

The Ministry of Transportation says its overnight Highway 1 closure through the Fraser Canyon is planned as a precautionary measure in case heavy precipitation overwhelms the area affected by this summer's Kookipi Creek wildfire.

Heavy rain and rain on snow at higher elevations is forecast.

Geotechnical experts recommended the closure, which begins effect at 7 p.m.

Highway 1 will be closed between Boothroyd and Siska, south of Lytton until an assessment can be conducted mid-morning on Tuesday, the ministry says.

Checkpoints will be set up just outside of Hope and Lytton to advise motorists about detour routes and to assist local traffic.

"Drivers heading to the Lower Mainland can use Highway 3 (Hope-Princeton) or Highway 5 (Coquihalla). However, drivers are cautioned winter driving conditions, including snow and rain, are forecast for both routes," the ministry adds.

Winter tires or chains are required on mountain highways.

"Anyone travelling between the Lower Mainland and Interior should ensure their vehicle is properly equipped for winter and be prepared for delays by carrying food, water and blankets."

UPDATE: 10:25 a.m.

A travel advisory and "proactive highway closure" are planned for the Trans-Canada Highway this evening.

DriveBC reports the travel advisory for Jackass Mountain summit, beginning at 7 p.m.

It will continue until 9 a.m. Tuesday.

A full closure is planned through the Fraser Canyon, between Boothroyd and Siska, due to heavy rain forecast through fire-affected areas.

The closure will also be in effect from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m. – or until a geotechnical assessment has been completed, DriveBC advises.

UPDATE: 9:25 a.m.

Much of British Columbia's south coast is bracing for stormy weather as Environment Canada says a "potent and impactful" storm will bring heavy rain to Metro Vancouver.

Environment Canada is also warning drivers on the Sea to Sky Highway from Squamish to Whistler to exercise caution due to heavy rains raising the risk of flooding and landslides along the route.

The rainfall warning says an atmospheric river is set to make landfall on the province's southern coast today, bringing as much as 150 millimetres of rain to Western Vancouver Island.

Meanwhile, Inland Vancouver Island, the Howe Sound region and parts of Metro Vancouver, including the North Shore, Coquitlam and Maple Ridge, are expecting up to 100 millimetres of rain from the storm.

The forecast says the rest of Metro Vancouver could get up to 70 millimetres of rain today before the storm eases on Tuesday morning.

Environment Canada also says motorists on the Coquihalla Highway from Hope to Merritt should be cautious due to the possibility of snow mixed with rain on the roads.

The province's River Forecast Centre has issued high streamflow advisories for the entire southwestern region of British Columbia, encompassing all of Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and the south coast.

The 'atmospheric river' is also expected to hit the southern Kootenay region in B.C.'s Interior, with the Elk Valley near Fernie and parts of Highway 3 expecting up to 100 millimetres of rain starting tonight and lasting until Thursday.

Environment Canada says the province also faces a number of other weather-related warnings today, with the north coast stretching from northern Vancouver Island to Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii set for winds gusting up to 120 kilometres an hour.

Also, a winter storm warning has been issued for the Trans-Canada Highway from Sicamous to Golden, with up to 15 centimetres of snow accumulation expected along with ice pellets and the possibility of freezing rain.

– The Canadian Press

ORIGINAL: 6:30 a.m.

An atmospheric river will bring heavy rain and snow to BC Interior highways.

Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the West Columbia, North Columbia, Kinbasket, Yoho Park, and Trans-Canada Highway, Eagle Pass to Rogers Pass.

Conditions will deteriorate this afternoon and continue through Tuesday morning.

Accumulations of 15 to 25 centimetres of snow, changing to rain are expected.

This will be accompanied by ice pellets and risk of freezing rain, causing slippery conditions. Higher terrain, such as Rogers Pass and Yoho Park will see the most snow.

"An atmospheric river setting up over the B.C. South Coast today will bring a wintry mix of conditions to areas of the Columbia," the forecaster says.

"Snow will begin this afternoon and become mixed with ice pellets and possible freezing rain in the evening, before changing to rain overnight or Tuesday morning."

Meanwhile, a rainfall warning is in effect for the Manning-Skagit Valley region.

Heavy rain is expected today through Tuesday morning with totals from 40 to 60 mm.

Higher amounts are forecast near Hope Slide.

"Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads. Localized flooding in low-lying areas is possible," Environment Canada says.

"Watch for possible washouts near rivers, creeks and culverts."

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