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UPDATE: No Coquihalla snowfall warning coming from Environment Canada

(UPDATE: Jan. 5 @ 3:35 pm) - A weather warning is not expected to be issued for the Coquihalla Highway (Hwy 5) tonight.

Environment Canada meteorologist Trevor Smith tells NowMedia that the threshold for that kind of alert is 15 centimetres of snow over a 12-hour period, which is not anticipated tonight.

The inquiry came after YRB Nicola Ltd., the road maintenance contractor for the highway route, said it was implementing 'Coquihalla Protocol' with 20 cm expected overnight.

Smith says that 20 cm figure is possible for a 36-hour period, beginning this morning and lasting through until Saturday night.

He adds that Environment Canada's sensor at the summit has recorded 7 cm of snow since 4 am today.

While there won't be a massive dump of snow overnight, it doesn't mean motorists shouldn't expect difficult driving conditions.

"(It will) definitely (be) winter driving," he told NowMedia. "More so than maybe we've seen this year."

Smith did say there's another system coming that could produce highway alerts and Arctic air next week will bring temperatures well below zero and snowfall to the region next week.

(Original story: Jan. 5 @ 2:45 pm) - The Coquihalla Highway’s (Hwy 5) road maintenance contractor and Environment Canada appear to be going off different forecasts.

YRB Nicola Ltd. said earlier this afternoon that it will implement ‘Coquihalla Protocol’ at 3 pm today due to a forecast of up to 20 centimetres of snow overnight.

“Please be cautious of snow removal equipment and crews working when travelling this evening,” the company said in a post on social media.

But while the plows seem to be preparing for the worst, Environment Canada hasn’t issued any kind of weather alert for Hwy 5.

In fact, the only highway alert in place for the BC Interior at this time is for Hwy 3 through the West Kootenays.

Environment Canada’s travellers forecast does call for snow, but nothing in the neighbourhood of 20 cm.

According to the weather agency, Hwy 5 could see around 5 cm of snow today, another 2-4 cm overnight and between 5-10 cm on Saturday.

NowMedia has reached out to Environment Canada for comment and is waiting on a response.

Thumbnail photo courtesy of YRB Nicola Ltd.

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