Snowfall warning issued by Environment Canada. (File photo)

Snowfall warning issued by Environment Canada. (File photo)

Travel not recommended as storm envelopes West Kootenay

Up to 20-30 cm of snow expected, more on high mountain passes

Drivers are being told to stay off the roads if they don’t have to travel today as a heavy snowstorm hits the region.

“Consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve,” says Environment Canada. “Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow.”

The warning of hazardous conditions comes as a long period of snowfall settles on the region, with total amounts of 20-30 cm expected. Up to 70 cm can be expected on high mountain passes by Tuesday afternoon, says the federal weather office.

DriveBC was not reporting any major incidents along West Kootenay or Boundary highways Monday morning, though it warns of slippery sections and areas of reduced visibility. Heavy snowfall warnings have also been issued for the high mountain passes.

The conditions are expected to linger as a pacific frontal system will push into southern B.C. Monday and then remain stationary over the region through Tuesday. Steady snow is forecast to begin this morning and then become heavy at times by Monday night.

The snow is forecast to change over to rain on Tuesday as a milder southerly flow develops.

The snowfall is not going to be great for power companies. Heavy snowfall accumulation may cause tree branches to break, as occurred during last weeks’ storm over New Year’s. Branches knocking out power lines left more than 100,000 people in the dark in the province, some for several days.

Environment Canada also suggests homeowners clearing snow take frequent breaks and avoid strain.