01/02/2015 12:19 EST | Updated 03/04/2015 05:59 EST

First Major Winter Storm Of 2015 Forecast To Hit This Weekend

Steve Dunwell via Getty Images
Environment Canada is promising a "messy meteorological medley" on B.C.'s South Coast starting Saturday as a strengthening high pressure system over the Yukon meets a Pacific warm front packing plenty of moisture.

"The combination of outgoing Arctic air at low elevations and incoming Pacific air at higher elevations, will create a montage of rapidly changing winter conditions that will eventually have planners, road crews, and the public from Stewart to Hope scrambling to avoid, mitigate and otherwise work around the weather," it said in a storm watch bulletin issued Friday morning. 

The meteorological service warns the two air systems will combine to create snow and freezing rain, along the South Coast starting Saturday night.

"The first few flakes will fly Saturday on the North and Central Coasts." it said.

"Strong and drying outflowing air will delay significant accumulations of snow until Sunday when the force of incoming warm wet Pacific air overwhelms the dry." 

"Near the coastline, snow or mixed rain and snow will develop late in the evening. The precipitation will spread inland where colder air will sustain snow through the night."

Environment Canada says the warmer air could creating freezing rain in some areas Sunday. However, it says accumulations of snow in Vancouver and Abbotsford will likely only occur at higher elevations prior to a rapid change-over to rain.

It's forecasting heavy snowfall and/or freezing rain inland as warmer Pacific air floods onto the coast Sunday, creating potentially treacherous travel conditions.


Photo galleryMetro Vancouver Snow, November 2014 See Gallery