Heavy snows persist across B.C. ahead of a frigid Christmas chill

·4 min read
Heavy snows persist across B.C. ahead of a frigid Christmas chill
Heavy snows persist across B.C. ahead of a frigid Christmas chill

British Columbia marked the winter solstice in the spirit of the new season this year as a messy system brought heavy rain, freezing rain, heavy alpine snow, and howling winds to parts of the province. While the freezing rain drew to an end on Wednesday morning, heavy snow will continue in the mountains through Thursday. Looking ahead, a blast of cold air could lead to one of the coldest Christmases on record in places like Vancouver. More on the timing and impacts, below.

MUST SEE: Canada's 2021 Holiday Snow Report

THROUGH THURSDAY: DUO SYSTEMS BRING MORE RAIN, FREEZING RAIN AND SNOW BEFORE THE HOLIDAYS

B.C. has been in the midst of not one, but two potent systems, which will merge into one Wednesday morning. As separate lows, they’ve brought a bout of heavy snow, rain and freezing rain across the province.

In terms of rainfall amounts, the Lower Mainland can expect between 30-60 mm of rain through Thursday, with higher totals possible in areas where terrain enhances precipitation rates. 75-100 mm is anticipated for the eastern Fraser Valley, and 50-75 mm is forecast for southwestern Vancouver Island.

BCRAIN
BCRAIN

Meanwhile, widespread winter storm warnings are in place for a slow-moving winter storm will continue to trek across the southern B.C. Interior Wednesday. Snow, at times heavy, will impact travel conditions through to Thursday.

Accumulations of 5-10 cm of snow across parts of the Interior are expected, with even higher totals for the alpine and mountain passes through Thursday (20-50 cm).

BCSNOW
BCSNOW

"Rapidly accumulating snow could make travel difficult over some locations. Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow. Poor weather conditions may contribute to transportation delays," Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) says in the winter storm warning.

In addition to the wintry precipitation, winds will remain blustery through the overnight hours Tuesday and into Wednesday afternoon. Gusts of 50-70 km/h are expected for coastal and Interior regions.

As a result of the mountain snow, the avalanche danger is elevated across the passes Wednesday. Danger ratings will range from moderate to high.

BCAvalanche
BCAvalanche

LOOKING AHEAD: UNUSUAL AND EXTENDED STRETCH OF ARCTIC AIR WITH POTENTIALLY RECORD BREAKING COLD

Much colder air will spread over Western Canada heading into the Christmas weekend, with an unusual and extended stretch of Arctic air set to blast B.C. The avalanche danger rating will also be heightened by Wednesday, with very unstable layers within the snowpack.

Capture (18)
Capture (18)

While freezing levels for the South Coast will temporarily bump up mid-week with the arrival of the system, freezing levels are forecast to bottom out on Friday and beyond, with daytime high temperatures for Vancouver sitting below freezing for Christmas.

Vancouver actually has the potential of breaking records with this cold. A daytime high of -1°C is currently forecast for Saturday (Christmas Day). The coldest daytime high recorded on Christmas for Vancouver was -1.7°C tied in 1924, 1964 and 1971.

Capture (20)
Capture (20)

This extraordinary stretch of frigid weather expected for the South Coast will continue through the end of the month, with additional opportunities for snow.

Thumbnail courtesy of LMainWeather/Coquitlam/Twitter (@LMainWx).

Check back for the latest forecast across British Columbia.

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