Highways reopen

Alanna Kelly

UPDATE: 5:45 a.m.

DriveBC reports Highway 97C, the Okanagan Connector, fully reopened just before midnight.

Black ice conditions were also reported overnight on the Connector, from Merritt to the Pennask summit, but are now clear.

UPDATE: 10:10 p.m.

Highway 3 has now reopened. The Okanagan Connector has also reopened, but a lane closure is in place westbound 30km east of Merritt due to a vehicle in incident.

Travel advisories remain in place on most mountain passes for extreme conditions ranging from blowing snow to black ice. 

UPDATE: 9:35 p.m.

The Coquihalla and Highway 1 have reopened following closures due to extreme winter conditions. 

Highway 3 and the Okanagan Connector remain closed at this time.

UPDATE: 8:25 p.m.

The highway closures continue as the snow keeps falling. 

After the eastbound lanes of the Okanagan Connector reopened at about 5:30 p.m. Thursday, they are once again closed at the junction with Highway 5A due to a vehicle crash. 

The westbound lanes of the Connector remain closed as well. DriveBC estimates the highway will reopen by 11 p.m.

Meanwhile, the Coquihalla, Highway 1 and Highway 3 remain closed in both directions. 

UPDATE: 6:45 p.m.

Highway 3, the last highway connecting the B.C. coast to the province's Interior, has been closed due to "extreme winter conditions."

The Coquihalla and Highway 1 were closed in both directions shortly before the Highway 3 closure. 

While DriveBC estimates Highway 5 and 1 will reopen between 8 and 9 p.m., there is no such estimate for Highway 3. 

UPDATE: 6:30 p.m.

Two of the three highways connecting B.C.'s coast to the Interior are closed. 

The Coquihalla is now completely shut down in both directions, after heavy snow and freezing temperatures caused multiple crashes. 

DriveBC estimates the highway will be reopened sometime between 8 and 9 p.m.

Highway 1, between Yale and Boston Bar, has also been closed due to inclement weather and resulting crashes. 

DriveBC is also estimating the highway will reopen between 8 and 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, the Okanagan Connector remains closed in the westbound direction. 

UPDATE: 6:15 p.m.

After heavy snowfall closed parts of the Okanagan Connector earlier in the afternoon, a crash has now closed the southbound lanes of the Coquihalla, south of Merritt.

The closure happened just before 6 p.m. Thursday at the Coldwater interchange, just south of Merritt. 

The nature of the crash is unknown at this time, but webcams show the highway covered in snow. Eleven centimetres fell on the highway throughout the day. 

The northbound lanes of the Coquihalla remain open at this time. 

UPDATE: 5:30 p.m.

Highway 97C remains closed westbound, DriveBC reports.

The closure is 30 kilometres east of Merritt, due to a crash. No detour is available.

The highway is expected to fully reopen by 8:30 p.m.

UPDATE: 5:15 p.m.

DriveBC reports the Okanagan Connector has reopened eastbound at Aspen Grove.

UPDATE: 4:45 p.m.

The Okanagan Connector is now closed in both directions, following two recent crashes.

One crash has closed the westbound lanes of the highway, 30 kilometres east of Merritt near Aspen Grove, while a previous crash closed the eastbound lanes between Aspen Grove and Pennask Summit.

DriveBC issued a travel advisory Thursday afternoon, warning of black ice on the highway at higher elevations. 

UPDATE: 4:30 p.m.

Highway 97C is now closed in the eastbound direction between Aspen Grove and Pennask Summit, due to a vehicle crash. 

Shortly before the crash, DriveBC had issued an advisory for the highway, warning of black ice at higher elevations. 

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

UPDATE: 4:15 p.m.

DriveBC has issued a "major" travel advisory for the Okanagan Connector, after black ice has begun to develop at higher elevations. 

The advisory urges drivers to use caution while travelling Highway 97C as temperatures drop into the evening. 

ORIGINAL: 12:40 p.m.

Snow is starting to fall in the valley bottom in the Central Okanagan.

The white stuff is falling in wet flakes that are melting as they hit the ground in downtown Kelowna.

But, it's sticking at elevations only a little higher.

Roads and gardens are blanketed in white in West Kelowna's Mount Boucherie area.

Environment Canada has forecast up to 30 centimetres of snow on high-elevation highways across the B.C. Interior today.

The special weather statement issued Wednesday said an Arctic front will move across the region.

"For most communities in the Southwest Interior valleys, there is significant uncertainty with the precipitation type, whether rain or snow will fall," the statement said.

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