Goodbye sun, hello snow: B.C.'s South Coast to be hit with snow by Sunday

·2 min read

British Columbians living on the South Coast should take advantage of the last couple of days of sunshine on Friday and Saturday, as clouds are expected to roll in Saturday evening, bringing a light dusting of snow with them.

Environment Canada has posted a special weather statement warning of a "cool air mass and low-pressure system" Saturday night and Sunday morning, with potential snowfall of two to five centimetres for the Lower Mainland, the Sunshine Coast, inland sections of western Vancouver Island and for the Central Coast.

However, eastern and inland areas of Vancouver Island, including the Malahat Highway could see more, with up to 15 centimetres falling.

CBC Vancouver meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe says it looks like the snow won't begin to fall until the pre-dawn hours on Sunday.

"The approaching system isn't packing quite as much moisture for the top-end scenario of snow," she said.

"I think we are trending toward just a few centimetres before a change-over to rain on Sunday."

This combination sets the South Coast up for its first slushy snowfall of the year, Wagstaffe says.

Vancouver opening shelters

The City of Vancouver says its crews are monitoring the weather and a coordinated response plan is underway. Major roads, bridges, bus routes, and bike paths are being treated with brine ahead of the snowfall.

A city statement says over 100 vehicles and 3,000 tonnes of salt are ready to be used on any snow and ice, and crews will focus on priority routes first.

It asks residents to take only essential road and bike trips, and property owners must clear any snow from walkways and sidewalks by 10 a.m. the morning after a snowfall.

The city says it's also opening additional indoor shelter spaces for people experiencing homelessness, from January 22 to 27, as a "life saving measure."

The warming centres will be located at:

  • The Powell Street Getaway, at 528 Powell St., from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.

  • The Vancouver Aquatic Centre, at 1050 Beach Ave., from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

  • The Creekside Community Centre, at 1 Athletes Way., from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

The city says these centres will also allow people who have pets and carts, and hot drinks and snacks will be provided. All sites have reduced their capacity, in order to meet the province's COVID-19 physical distancing requirements.