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Snow AND (season's first) thunderstorms on same day in B.C.

Digital writers

Friday, March 23, 2018, 7:52 AM - Spring and winter weather is clashing over parts of British Columbia, where we expect to see both snow (even at lower elevations) and isolated thunderstorms (the first of the season) as an unseasonably cool airmass pivots into the province. Risk of treacherous travel as heavier snow piles up through the Interior, North and mountain passes.

Visit our Complete Guide to Spring 2018 for an in depth look at the Spring Forecast, tips to plan for it and much more.

Dynamic low: The set-up

A large upper-level low churning off the coast is slowly spreading into British Columbia and actively funneling in Pacific moisture. Unsettled, cold and windy conditions will persist through the weekend, but generally trending drier as the low migrates and weakens over the region.

Thunderstorm threat

In addition to rain showers, scattered thunderstorms producing small hail (or graupel) are also possible again on Friday across Vancouver Island, parts of the lower mainland and sunshine coast as the low creates a very unstable atmosphere.

Heavy snow, treacherous travel

Some snowfall accumulation is expected for the south coast on Friday and into Saturday morning as freezing levels nearly drop to sea level (around 100-200 m). A few centimetres for the higher terrain of Vancouver Island is likely and potentially upwards of 5 cm for the higher elevations across the lower mainland. Otherwise, showers and wet snow is possible for areas at sea level through Friday and the weekend.

The mountain ranges, mountain passes and interior of British Columbia is already dealing with regions of heavy snowfall and the trend will continue through Friday before the initial burst of moisture passes east of the Rockies. In the Peace region, the setup has resulted in a winter storm and Fort St. John has already received over 20 cm of snowfall, with an additional and final 5-10 cm forecast Friday.

Widespread flood threat

High snow pack in the Okanagan region has heightened the flood threat for this year.

"Compared to last year, we're at about 131% of our snow base index and that's the February 1 reading based on about 20 snow monitoring stations throughout the Okanagan Basin," says Shaun Reimer with B.C.'s Ministry of Forests, adding that a high snow pack increases the probability for widespread flooding.

Additional rain and snow events and extended periods of warm weather could be contributing factors.

"Residents can rest assure that we are drawing down particularly Okanagan Lake because we know that the water's up there, but that doesn't guarantee that we won't get flooding," Reimer says.

Be sure to check back as we continue to monitor and update details on this storm.

WATCH BELOW: Flood concerns are on the rise in British Columbia for 2018

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