Widespread winter warnings remain in effect across British Columbia for another high impact system that has brought heavy snow to coastal areas. Difficult travel is expected throughout the day on Thursday, with upwards of 30 cm of snow forecast with this latest wintry blast. Thousands have been left without power as well, with more outages looming as the precipitation changes over to freezing rain. Rainfall rates will pick up for Metro Vancouver later Thursday night, which on top of melting snow, may create slick road conditions and water pooling. Powerful winds will whip in for Friday as well, with gusts up to 70 km/h possible at times. More on this potent winter blast and its impacts, below.
THURSDAY INTO FRIDAY: DIFFICULT TRAVEL AMID HEAVY SNOW, ICE AND RAIN
This latest system, in a series of high impact storms, is a very moisture-laden system, and it's encountering air cold enough to make for more heavy snow at coastal areas.
By the early morning hours on Thursday, Vancouver airport had already picked up close to 15 cm, with Victoria measuring nearly 30 cm of snow by 4 a.m. Drivers are being urged to consider non-essential travel until conditions improve.
According to B.C. Hydro, around 20,000 customers were also left in the dark by the pre-dawn hours Thursday morning, with those numbers likely to climb.
As temperatures rise through the day on Thursday, the precipitation will transition from snow to a prolonged period of freezing rain for the Fraser Valley, especially for the western and central sections. Across eastern sections, conditions will remain cold enough for the snow to continue.
There's a slight risk for freezing rain across Metro Vancouver as well, though the transition from snow to straight rain will be faster. Still, as it picks up in intensity through Thursday night, the heavy rain on top of melting snow may create slippery road conditions and water pooling.
Between 30-50 mm of rain is possible, with even heavier totals likely over the Northshore mountains through early Friday.
Significant snowfall accumulations are forecast for the southern Interior, as well. Cumulative totals for some of the mountain passes could reach 50 cm, and last through much of Thursday before ending overnight.
Given the fresh snowfall that's already accumulated in combination with this latest dumping, there’s a considerable-to-high risk for avalanches for several of the coastal mountain ranges according to Avalanche Canada.
POWERFUL WINDS RAMP UP IN STORM'S WAKE:
On top of all this, as the storm departs, the winds will be ramping up in its wake, reaching 70-80 km/h by Friday afternoon. Additional power outages are expected as these strong gusts slam the region.
Beyond the impacts of the next storm, the frigid pattern finally breaks down this weekend, with much milder weather expected for next week.
Conditions will remain unsettled at times through next week, but no major storms are expected and coastal areas won’t see any snow for the next couple of weeks.
Stay tuned to The Weather Network for the latest updates across British Columbia.