A late February snowfall put residents of the Lower Similkameen and Keremeos in a grumpy mood Sunday morning, in spite of Team Canada’s early Sunday ice hockey gold medal performance in Sochi on the final day of the Olympics.
Snow that first began falling Saturday afternooon continued falling through Sunday and Monday, with significant accumulations – up to 10 centimetres in the Lower Similkameen – piling up on village roads and valley highways.
Keremeos and District Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jordy Bosscha said the department responded to a rollover motor vehicle accident near the Lawrence ranch, about 17 kilometres west of the village late Sunday afternoon. Highway 3 was shut down for a period of time while emergency crews attended the scene.
Two people, who were taken to hospital by BC Ambulance, had to be extricated from the vehicle.
Kaleden Volunteer Fire Department also responded to an MVA north of the community on Highway 97 at around 2:45 p.m. Sunday, causing a traffic snarl for about 45 minutes.
Another accident occurred at the east end of the Keremeos bypass on Monday morning. No serious injuries were reported but both vehicles suffered major damage. Highway 3 north of Keremeos to the junction of Highway 97 was covered with icy compact snow for the start of the work week Monday.
“Why did the groundhog have to be right this year?” asked Infocentre Manager Colleen Christensen, “I’m tired of winter.”
“I’m driving to the coast tomorrow,” said Bill Copeland of Cawston, surveying the snow covered street. “It’s just not letting up.”
Downtown business merchants shovelled their storefronts several times through Monday afternoon. Traffic was lighter than normal for Monday, with pedestrian traffic even more so.
“It’s just ridiculous,” said Mac Watson who contracts to clean snow for various village venues. “I checked the weather, it was supposed to clear up by noon, but it keeps coming.”
Roads were particularly slippery on Sunday and Monday afternoons. One member of the Village of Keremeos maintenance department was absent Monday, making it difficult for the village crew to keep up with road plowing and sanding. New snow on top of the previous day’s compacted snowfall resulted in some very slippery streets for pedestrians on Monday.
“The storm was highly variable as it moved through the area,” said Doug Lindquist, Meteorologist for Environment Canada in Kelowna.
“It was probably the most concentrated in the Similkameen. Penticton records show upwards of nine centimetres accumulating since Saturday morning, while only a centimetre fell in the Kelowna area.”
Lindquist said it isn’t all that unusual to see such snowfall amounts this time of year. Weather conditions are predicted to warm up through to the weekend, when another arctic front is expected.