Photo by Lauren St.Clair/ The Phoenix News
Photo by Lauren St.Clair/ The Phoenix News

Record-Breaking Snowfall in Kelowna leads to Trouble

In less than a week Kelowna exchanged it’s clear, autumn chill for a fresh white blanket of snow and some classic winter weather just in time to kick off the New Year. For snowboarders and skiers, the fresh powder has been long awaited. However, for those travelling by plane or vehicle, the snow has been more of a nuisance than Kelowna residents bargained for.

Environment Canada reported that as of December 30, UBC Okanagan had a received a total of 31 centimetres of snow on the ground, equating to just over one foot.

As a result of a mixture of arctic air hovering over Kelowna, and a few Pacific frontal systems moving in from the east, West Kelowna and the southern regions of the Okanagan received a sudden and rapid snowfall, caking the region with snow.

As of December 30, UBC Okanagan had a total of 31 centimetres of snow on the ground.

Although official records of snowfall are not kept in the Okanagan, Environment Canada believes Kelowna may have breached the previous snowfall record in Kelowna on December 28, recording measurements around 20 centimetres for the day. Between December 28 and 30 snow piled up around the southern regions of the Okanagan accumulating between 20-40 centimeters of snow in certain areas.

As a result, traffic has been difficult and a long list of delayed and cancelled flights has ensued for those travelling to and from Kelowna, as well as some problematic driving conditions for residents within the city.

Generally, vehicular collisions tend to increase during the holidays. ICBC released a report earlier this month stating that, in British Columbia, accidents tend to average approximately 22 collisions and six injuries every hour between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, but following the sudden snowfall and the consequent slippery road conditions as a result of the snow, it was not unlikely to see a car in the ditch – even on the first day of school a car was spotted on Hollywood Road North between the outermost roundabouts.

ICBC Director responsible for road safety, Lindsay Matthews, asked that drivers “consider their own behaviour on our busy roads by driving smart. If we want everyone to arrive safely – we need to start with our own driving.”