Environment Canada has issued a winter storm watch for Highway 5 from Hope to Merritt. According to the notice, accumulations of more than 20 centimetres are possible, with the heavy snow and southwest wind gusts expected to bring limited visibility.

The winter storm watch has been issued for Highway 5 between Merritt and Hope, along with Highway 3 between Princeton and Hope via Allison Pass, and the Okanagan Connector (Highway 97C) from Merritt to Kelowna. The storm is expected Saturday night.

“A strong Pacific frontal system is forecast to move into the southern interior late Saturday bringing snow and strong winds. The snow will be heaviest Saturday night, especially for the coastal passes where accumulations of more than 20 cm are likely. Southwest winds gusting to 60 km/h will also create poor visibility in blowing snow,” said a release by Environment Canada.

If drivers find their visibility is reduced while driving, they are advised to turn on the vehicle’s lights and maintain a safe following distance behind other traffic. Travel is expected to be hazardous due to reduced visibility in some locations. 

Road conditions are available to view at www.drivebc.ca, and drivers are reminded to exercise caution. Adjust to winter driving conditions, and ensure the use of winter tires or snow chains.

For information on emergency plans and kits for winter driving, go to www.getprepared.gc.ca.