Winter catches up to the Okanagan-Similkameen

Winter storm watch in effect for the region as more snow on the way for Friday afternoon and evening

Highway 3A just west of Olalla on Jan. 17 Loose

Highway 3A just west of Olalla on Jan. 17 Loose

Winter hit the Similkameen with a vengence  this week as temperatures plummeted and the first significant snowfall of the season blanketed the valley.

Wednesday, Jan.18  proved to be the nastiest day of the week so far, with strong north winds creating a windchill that reached -30 Celsius in some localities. Steady snowfall throughout the day added another four to six centimetres to the four that had fallen earlier in the week.

Drifting and blowing snow in the Village of Keremeos made it almost impossible for village maintenance crews and business people to keep sidewalks and roads clean throughout the day.  Driving throughout the region was also made difficult due to loose snow, which obscured traffic. While the driving lanes on area highways were clear for the most part, passing lanes tended to be icy and very slippery. Drivers, for the most part were adapting to the poor driving conditions, by slowing down or staying off the road altogether. In Keremeos, the driver of a pick up truck had the misfortune to stall in the westbound lane at the recently upgraded corner of Highway 3A and Seventh Street, resulting in traffic backups and confusion as drivers made their way around the stalled vehicle. The truck was moved out of the way about 15 minutes later.

The wind had died down considerably by Thursday, making it feel slightly warmer outside, in spite of temperatures still in the minus 10 to 15 range.

Forecast for the rest of the week calls for moderating temperatures through the weekend, with highs reaching plus four on Saturday – but not before another seven to ten centimetres of snow falls on Friday afternoon and evening.