Elkhart - W Highway 97C (Okanagan Connector) Wednesday, June 19. (DriveBC image)

Elkhart - W Highway 97C (Okanagan Connector) Wednesday, June 19. (DriveBC image)

Unexpected snow on Okanagan Connector, Pennask Summit

As of 6:50 a.m. DriveBC cameras displayed surprise snowfall on highway

UPDATE: 12:21 p.m.

Environment Canada has announced a special weather alert for the Coquihalla Highway from Hope to Merritt.

“We’ve got a very unstable air mass over B.C. today,” said Matt McDonald, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada. “We’ve got widespread showers and thunderstorms.”

Travellers can expect mixed precipitation down to 1100m (near Coquihalla Summit) and accumulations above 1500m (Okanagan Connector near Pennask Summit).

“The Okanagan Connector over Pennask Summit is one of our highest passes in the province. It tops out at 1,728 metres,” said McDonald. “This morning, we saw 3-4cm accumulate near Pennask Summit. Temperatures are sitting at about one degree right now, but we’re expecting those temperatures to climb. Those showers mixed with flurries will eventually turn back to liquid form as things warm up.”

McDonald said conditions on the Coquihalla are similar.

“We started the day off at 7 degrees and as these bands of intense thunderstorms pushed through, there’s kind of a downdraft scenario where that cold air gets pushed down onto the lower elevations,” said McDonald.

“It’s not totally uncommon. We’ve seen snow on mountain passes into July. Nonetheless, it’s definitely unseasonal.”

Road conditions are available at drivebc.ca.

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Though it’s late June, some unexpected weather has made an appearance.

According to DriveBC cams, snow is in the forecast for Highway 97C from Elkhart to Pennask Wednesday.

As of 6:50 a.m. Wednesday, Pennask Summit on Highway 97C, 74 km west of Kelowna, was reporting an elevation of 1717 metres. The Okanagan Connector, 25 km east of Hwy 5A/97C Junction, (Elkhart) reported to have an elevation of 1621 metres.

Environment Canada is calling for a chance of rain throughout the Okanagan today.

Related: Snow an unexpected surprise on Okanagan Connector

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