|A man waits for the light to turn at the intersection of Bernard Avenue and Water Street on Tuesday afternoon. Okanagan residents were slammed with a second snowstorm in as many days.|
A thick dose of wet snow started falling on the Central Okanagan after
1 p.m. Tuesday, causing numerous slow-speed crashes and clogging major intersections with frustrated motorists. The white stuff continued off and on and was forecast to blanket the Valley overnight Tuesday.
The weatherman predicted up to 10 centimetres of new snow by this morning. It may turn to showers as the temperatures pick up. The mercury is expected to reach 5 C today.
Roads were slippery before the plows began clearing the main arterial routes Tuesday. Streets on the hills were especially treacherous as tires spun and vehicles slid on the icy surface, occasionally into the ditch.
Two pickup trucks crashed head-on on Princeton Avenue in Peachland about 2 p.m. after one of the drivers lost control. Ambulances took three of the four occupants to hospital. Their injuries weren't considered serious, mainly because both vehicles were travelling below the speed limit, police said.
Travel advisories were in full force
on the Okanagan Connector and Coquihalla highways.
Meteorologist Doug Lundquist projected up to 40 cm of snow overnight between Hope and Merritt, and 15 cm between Merritt and Peachland.
Nine cm fell Monday at the Environment Canada office near UBC Okanagan; as much as 15 cm descended on other parts of the city.
"We get heavy snowfalls through the winter. This one was typical of our
winter snow, not extraordinary," Lundquist said.
At least seven arriving flights were delayed at Kelowna Airport on Tuesday, but there were no cancellations by early evening. Crews were de-icing the aircraft before takeoff.
The air traffic ran smoother than on Monday, when poor visibility forced two aircraft to either overfly Kelowna or cancel their approaches altogether. Five flights in all were scrubbed, forcing passengers to re-book or stay in Kelowna overnight.
An Edmonton-bound Boeing 737 carrying 140 people made national news Monday when it taxied off the runway and got stuck. Once towed back onto the tarmac, it passed a safety check and was cleared to fly to a different destination Monday afternoon, said airport spokesperson Jenelle Hynes.
Pilots approaching Kelowna Airport need to see the ground from a 251-foot height and to see a mile in front of them. Otherwise, they circle until the weather clears or they fly elsewhere, Hynes said.
On the ground, people were resigned to more shovelling as the city's fleet of 40-odd plows and graders cleared snow from 750 kilometres of streets in Kelowna.
People interviewed at the Capri Mall parking lot didn't seem fazed by the deluge.
"It (driving) is actually not bad if you stick to the highways. I live on Black Mountain, so coming down was actually pretty good," said Diane Quigley, 60, who grew up here. "Usually the first two weeks of January are like minus 20s a lot of the time."
Quigley has noticed less sunshine in winter. If it wasn't snowing when she was young, it was usually sunny. "Because of the pollution in the Valley we get that winter fog," she said.
Ed John, 82, finds all the snow "unnecessary" but he's not planning a trip south anytime soon.
"I play a lot of winter sports. You have to take it easy (driving)," he said.
"I've been here 30-some years . . . This is as much snow as we've had at one time that I can recall."
Prepare for melting snow today but keep your winter coat handy. Environment Canada says the temperature will plummet to -10 C on Friday and Saturday - prime weather for ice-wine pruners to harvest the first crop of the year.