Winter storm blankets North Okanagan region

Brent Campeau and Dave Fortin, of Black and McDonald, clear the walkway in front of the emergency department at Vernon Jubilee Hospital during Monday’s snowstorm. - jennifer smith/morning star
Brent Campeau and Dave Fortin, of Black and McDonald, clear the walkway in front of the emergency department at Vernon Jubilee Hospital during Monday’s snowstorm.
— image credit: jennifer smith/morning star

The North Okanagan is digging out from a blast of winter.

Eight to 15 centimetres of snow fell throughout the region Monday.

“It was a typical big dump. We get this every winter,” said Doug Lundquist, an Environment Canada meteorologist.

Residents were bracing for more Tuesday as a snow warning was issued (possibly up to five centimetres in the valley bottom).

The steady snowfall created challenges for motorists Monday.

“It hit at the worst possible time in the morning at rush hour,” said James Rice, City of Vernon public works manager.

“The guys are working hard and doing a good job.”

There were four reported weather-related accidents between 7:30 a.m. and noon Monday.

It takes about 36 hours to clear roads in Vernon but if back-to-back snowfall occurs, secondary routes are left and the priority becomes main roads.

“If we get snowfall in that period, we get behind,” said Rice.

Plows revved up in Spallumcheen before 5 a.m. Monday and they wrapped up at about 7 p.m.

“The roads are looking pretty good,” said Ed Forslund, the township’s public works manager.

“The crews were going at it pretty hard.”

It was a team effort at Vernon Jubilee Hospital to keep sidewalks free of snow Monday.

“We usually hire a snow removal crew but because of the severe weather all hands are on deck,” said Dave Fortin with Black and McDonald, which provides facilities maintenance at VJH.

At Silver Star Mountain Resort, there was 16 centimetres of new snow as of Tuesday, bringing the total base to 184 centimetres.

“It’s been exciting for us,” said Robin Baycroft, resort services manager.

“The skiing is fantastic right now.”

Baycroft expects the high-quality powder will be a major draw for local residents as well as visitors to the North Okanagan.

“We are way ahead of where we were last year with snow,” he said.

“It’s coming and coming which is great.”

The weather is expected to warm up today (+3) with a chance of flurries or rain in the morning and then cool off in the evening.

Environment Canada is forecasting a high of -1 and a low of -6 Thursday, and  a high of -4 and a low of -10 Friday and Saturday.

“It will feel colder than we’ve had but it’s better than we could get at this time of the year,” said Lundquist, adding that -20 isn’t unusual in the winter.

The average high is -1 and the low is -6.

On Sunday, the forecast calls for a daytime high of -1 and an overnight low of -5.


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