Snow forecast may miss North Okanagan

Weather Network says B.C. to receive "most snow on earth" in next five days

With its two new PistenBully400 groomers at the ready, SilverStar Mountain Resort hopes weather forecasts are accurate.

The Weather Network issued a statement Wednesday saying B.C. was to receive “the most snow on the planet over the next five days.”

“It would add to our already champagne powder conditions,” said SilverStar’s Oscar Gordon, should The Weather Network be correct.

The Star received 13 centimetres of snow Tuesday, and currently has a 181-cm base. If the reports are accurate, the mountain’s two new groomers won’t hesitate to add to the already fabulous groomed conditions.

“They’ll be put to use, both out there,” said Gordon. “It’s our commitment to world-class groomed runs.”

All that predicted snow, though, may not reach the North Okanagan.

Environment Canada said there is a front crossing a low-pressure system over the eastern Pacific Ocean that is bringing a flow from the southwest.

“What we have is areas that are up upslope of the flow, so in the Southwest facing mountain slopes you get an enhanced amount of precipitation,” said Chris Emond of Environment Canada. “So, along with Vancouver Island and the coast range, there will be quite a bit of precipitation, which will be snow in the mountains, but in the valleys and the cities it will most likely be rain.”

Another system is expected to hit the province on Saturday that will bring more precipitation to the area, although Emond believes it could focus towards the south near Oregon and Washington State.

“There is no Arctic air in place for the valleys and the coast, so probably at places near sea level, such as Vancouver, it will be rain,” he said.

For the Okanagan and Shuswap, Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist said the low-pressure system forecast for the weekend did not strike him as an extraordinary event.

“It is wet, and there might be a rainfall warning, but nothing out of the ordinary,” he said.

Looking ahead over the next two days, Lundquist did not see precipitation above 6 mm in the Okanagan region, including the mountains.

Near Revelstoke, 27 cm of snow could fall in the highest mountain terrain over the next few days, which Lundquist said is normal for this time of year.

“This is a typical winter pattern, milder in the valleys of the interior, typical coastal weather, a storm on the weekend and more rain for Vancouver, but the high terrain will collect the snow,” said Lundquist.

This weekend the Central and South Okanagan could see up to 7 mm of precipitation, while to the north and in the Shuswap a mix of rain and snow is expected, along with wind gusts.

With this winter storm forecast for Saturday, Lundquist warns the avalanche risk will increase in what is already rated as considerably dangerous conditions in the backcountry.

Interior highways such as the Coquihalla and Okanagan Connector are forecast to receive several centimetres of snow overnight on Saturday, that could possibly trigger a snowfall warning for the mountain passes.

—-With files from Black Press’ Jen Zielinski

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