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Snowfall snarls traffic, delays air travel

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Elton Pachal, owner of Natural Rezources on Bernard Avenue in Kelowna, shovels snow from the sidewalk outside his store Friday afternoon. About five centimetres fell in the Okanagan Valley bottom Friday.
If you're travelling this weekend, take it slow on the roads and get to the airport early.
Old Man Winter is being his mischievous self on one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. About five centimetres of snow fell on the Valley bottom Friday, slowing city traffic to a snarl and making highway travel treacherous.
The good news is the Okanagan has a better chance of seeing a white Christmas than was forecast earlier this week. Temperatures should remain below freezing until Tuesday.
The farther you are from the lakes and the U.S. border, and the higher the elevation, the greater your chances of making snowballs on Wednesday.
"The snow may melt before Christmas. We hope it won't, and in the north there should be enough snow it will stay until Christmas," said meteorologist Doug Lundquist at Kelowna International Airport.
Highway driving was tricky Friday as a storm dumped 10 to 20 cm on the Lower Mainland. About eight cm fell on the Coquihalla and Pennask summits, making visibility a problem at times.
Seeing the road should be easier today, although mountain regions could see another storm system Sunday night and Monday.
"Even if (highway crews) are good at cleaning roads, it's better to choose a day when the snow has stopped," Lundquist said. "Really check the forecast and Drive BC."
Most flights arriving and departing from Kelowna's airport were delayed Friday afternoon. One arrival from Calgary was four hours late, probably due to the ripple effect of bad weather in Ontario and Eastern Canada, said Jenelle Hynes, who speaks for the airport.
A United flight from Los Angeles was cancelled.
Vancouver, Abbotsford and Victoria all were hit with a weather warning. Because Kelowna gets 11 flights from Vancouver a day, passengers were feeling the effects.
"When Vancouver has problems, it definitely is felt here," Hynes said. "If they're late coming from another airport, they'll be late leaving here."
Plows were clearing the Kelowna runways and crews were de-icing aircraft as they do in typical winter conditions.
Sunday is expected to be the airport's busiest day so far this season. An estimated 6,200 people will depart or arrive on an aircraft. Hynes recommends people check the airport's website ( and arrive earlier than usual.
WestJet and Air Canada now demand passengers check in at least 45 minutes before their departure. With double the usual crowds at the airport, more bags and longer lineups, Hynes suggests you show up 90 minutes before your domestic flight and two hours before an international flight.
Also, leave your car at home if you can. Hynes suggests people get family or friends to drop them off or take a shuttle to the airport because finding parking is a challenge this holiday season.

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