More snow hits the Okanagan Valley thanks to lazy low pressure system

The year starts with another dump of snow, a surprise dump that wreaked havoc on roads

Conrad Befus works to clear snow from vehicles at Bannister Cadillac in Kelowna on Tuesday morning.

The year is getting to a snowy start.

In the last few days eight to 10 centimetres of snow fell on the Central Okanagan, says a meteorologist from the national weather service.

“We had an interesting, lazy, low-pressure area lingering around southern B.C., trapped under a broad upper ridge—and it didn’t know where to go,” said Lisa Coldwells, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

When the low pressure area stayed put, it made for the unexpected snowfall, she said, noting that it’s likely the last significant dusting the Central Okanagan will have for awhile.

As the snow-causing low pressure area moves northwest, it will take the potential for snow with it, leaving behind the cloudy grey cover Kelowna residents know to be synonymous with the season.

“I was hoping for was some arctic air to come through and clear the cloud cover, but it won’t get deep enough,” said Coldwells, noting that the silver lining to the grey skies is warmer weather.

While the chilly weather was unexpected for meteorologists, it seemed to catch motorists even more off guard as they skidded all over the valley during peak snowfall.

Unsafe driving prompted Mounties to ask the media to urge motorists, on their behalf, to slow down and adjust their driving to the weather conditions.

“Slow down and drive safe, our roadways may be slippery due to the weather conditions,” said said Const. Jesse O’Donaghey.

“Avoid sudden starts and stops, abrupt lane changes or turns during icy conditions. Doing so can cause you to end up in the ditch.”

For those who forget the rules of driving in the snow between weather systems, O’Donaghey pointed out that it’s important to slow down and move over when passing stopped emergency vehicles, which include police, fire, ambulance and even tow trucks. Failure to do so could result in a $173 fine.

“Ensure you have the proper winter tires for your trip. If you are planning a trip on a highway route which requires the use of winter tires and traction devices, and you fail to be appropriately equipped, police can ticket you $109 and make you turn back,” he said.

Lastly, he recommended visiting the ICBC website for winter driving tips, as well as information on the requirements for winter tires.

Those heading beyond city limits are also advised to visit the Drive B.C. website.

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