Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for heavy snow along highways in the West Kootenay and a rainfall warning for the Elk Valley.

Forecasts in the West Kootenay call for heavy snow on Thursday morning for Paulson Summit, Kootenay Pass and Rogers Pass along the Trans Canada Highway.

Environment Canada officials predict 10 to 15 centimetres of snow accumulation on Thursday morning.

The snow is predicted to change to rain over Paulson Summit and Kootenay Pass around midday.

“Intense rain over the Kootenay Pass will continue through Friday morning with amounts up to 40 mm expected,” said Environment Canada.

Precipitation over Rogers Pass is predicted to also change to rain Thursday afternoon before snow falls over the pass overnight with a further 10 centimetres of snow accumulation possible near the summit.

Meanwhile, Environment Canada officials said between 30 to 50 millimetres of rain is expected to fall on the Elk Valley as that same weather system makes its way across the province.

That said, the area around Fernie is expected to receive more, with forecasts calling for 50 to 70 millimetres of rain.

The downpour is expected to start on Thursday evening and continue until midday on Friday.

“Rainfall rate will intensify this evening over the whole region. The heaviest rain is expected to fall near Fernie tonight. Rain will taper off near noon Friday as the front exits the region,” said Environment Canada officials.

The weather forecaster warned that heavy rains can cause flash floods and pooling water on roadways.

Drivers are asked to be cautious and drive to the road conditions.