A high impact snow storm has already prompted winter storm watches for parts of the Western Canada. The time to plan ahead for travel is now.

A cold airmass is settling in over the East Kootenays and persisting through the weekend. Lowering freezing levels and unsettled conditions will support the chance of snow over higher elevations.

In the Elk Valley, freezing levels will hover just above the valley bottom later today and will drop tonight. A changeover to snow is likely tonight with periods of snow possibly persisting through Sunday. Again, accumulations remain uncertain at this time, but 5 to 10 cm by Saturday night is plausible.

Snow accumulation forecasts for higher elevations and the Foothills have been up to 60 cm by Sunday.

Kootenay Pass has the potential to see a significant amount of snow during this period. Rain will likely give way to periods of snow near the summit on tonight and could persist well into Sunday. At this time, amounts remain quite uncertain, but snowfall accumulations of 5 to 15 cm are possible by Saturday night.

A return to drier conditions and seasonal temperatures are expected early next week.

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