People travelling highway mountain passes in B.C.’s Southern Interior this weekend are being advised to watch out for slippery surfaces as a storm with the potential to bring freezing rain moves through.
Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued special weather statements for sections of Highways 5 and 3, warning of “local freezing rain and ice pellets” Saturday night through early Sunday morning.
“Warm air aloft with lingering cold air in valleys will create localized patches of ice pellets and freezing rain across the region during the night,” the statement reads.
As the warm air retreats Sunday, precipitation will change to light snow, which is expected to end later in the day, according to the weather agency.
The special weather statement is in effect for the Coquihalla Highway – also known as Highway 5 – between Hope and Merritt and between Merritt and Kamloops. It’s also in effect for Highway 3 from Hope to Princeton via Allison Pass and from Paulson Summit to Kootenay Pass.
Special weather statements calling for freezing rain are also in effect for the Boundary, West Kootenay, Kootenay Lake, North and Central Okanagan, Shuswap, Nicola and Similkameen regions.
The statements were issued Saturday morning alongside wind warnings for Greater Victoria and the west coast of Vancouver Island. Those warnings were upgrades to special weather statements issued Friday.
B.C.’s capital is expected to see strong westerly winds of 70 kilometres per hour, with gusts as high as 90 km/h Saturday night into Sunday morning.
On the west coast, the communities of Tofino, Ucluelet, Port Renfrew, Jordan River and Sooke can expect sustained winds of 80 km/h and gusts up to 100 km/h, according to Environment Canada.
“Loose objects may be tossed by the wind and cause injury or damage,” the warning reads. “High winds may result in power outages and fallen tree branches.”