Widespread snow, dangerously cold temperatures across B.C. on Christmas

·3 min read
Widespread snow, dangerously cold temperatures across B.C. on Christmas
Widespread snow, dangerously cold temperatures across B.C. on Christmas

This will be a Christmas to remember across British Columbia as heavy snow impacts the region and lingers through the weekend. The Lower Mainland will be shovelingl away a respectable blanket of snow by Boxing Day, with frosty temperatures bringing wintry precipitation all the way to sea level. Frigid temperatures are set to follow the weekend snowfall. Details and timing, below.

MUST SEE: Dreaming of a white Christmas? Region-by-region breakdown, here

THIS WEEKEND: HEAVY SNOW FOR SOUTHERN B.C., DANGEROUSLY COLD ON THE WAY

A swath of heavy snow that began falling on Friday night will be widespread by Saturday morning. Temperatures will remain cold enough that snow will fall all the way down to sea level, with the potential for a bit of mixing in areas that are slightly warmer.

Across the Lower Mainland, forecasters expect 15-30 cm of snow around Metro Vancouver, with lower totals near the coast and greater totals likely for higher elevations. A snowfall warning is in effect for Metro Vancouver ahead of the storm.

BCSnowLML
BCSnowLML

The blanket of snow will grow even deeper farther inland, with Abbotsford expecting 30-40 cm of snow by the end of the storm on Sunday. The mountains could receive more than 50 cm of snow from this system.

Vancouver Island also stands to see hefty snowfall accumulations through the weekend. Strait-enhanced snow could produce over 30 cm of accumulation around Nanaimo by Sunday. Lower totals are likely toward Victoria where warmer air will hold on longer and bump snowfall totals down to 5-15 cm.

BCSnow
BCSnow

The weather this weekend is a gift for folks dreaming of a white Christmas, but the cold snap that follows is anything but merry. Temperatures will fall to dangerously cold levels through next week, endangering people who are exposed to the elements for too long.

A steep ridge of high pressure over the Gulf of Alaska will allow frigid Arctic air to filter straight down the B.C. coast, reaching the South Coast by this weekend. This is why locations at sea level should have no problem scoring some accumulating snow from the upcoming system.

Vancouver’s predicted high on Saturday is just 1°C, a far cry from the seasonal high of 6°C for December 25. This would make for one of the coldest Christmases on record for the city. The coldest Christmas high temperature in Vancouver was -1.7°C, a record set in 1924, 1964, and 1971.

NEXT WEEK: ARCTIC AIR STICKS AROUND AND GETS EVEN COLDER

Temperatures will remain at or below freezing through the last week of December, with highs on Monday struggling to climb out of the double-digit negatives across much of the Lower Mainland.

BC Monday
BC Monday

Winds will make the frigid conditions feel even colder. Wind chill values will pose a risk for hypothermia and frostbite on exposed skin if one spends too long outside.

Frost bite graphic
Frost bite graphic

This extraordinary stretch of frigid weather en route to the South Coast will continue through the end of the month, with additional opportunities for snow, rain, and some mixing at times.

Thumbnail courtesy of Bo Skapski in Kelowna, B.C.

Stay tuned to The Weather Network as we track the wintry weather headed for British Columbia.

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