A storm rolling down the coast of British Columbia will ring in the new year with some unsettled conditions across the South Coast and Vancouver Island. The snowfall that began on Saturday will transition to rain as temperatures warm up. However, heavy snow for the mountain passes could lead to dangerous travel conditions. More on what to expect this weekend and beyond, below.
THIS WEEKEND: UNSETTLED AND WINDY, BUT MILDER
A strong storm system moving down the B.C. coast is bringing heavy snow and rainfall this weekend. The good news is that the new system will usher in warmer air from the Pacific, meaning that the extended deep freeze on the coast will come to an end shortly.
The system will bring a typical setup for B.C.: Coastal rain that’s heavy at times, with significant snow at higher elevations.
The precipitation that began as snow in many areas will transition to rain by Sunday morning, which will bring a risk of freezing rain from Abbotsford to Hope before a full transition to rainfall.
Southwestern Vancouver Island will be the target of the heaviest rains, with 100+ mm expected. Metro Vancouver, meanwhile, could see 30-50 mm of rainfall, with 20-30 mm for the rest of the Lower Mainland.
Significant mountain pass snow is forecast through Monday with 50-75 cm of snow forecast for the Sea to Sky, 15-30 cm forecast for the Coquihalla from Hope to Merritt and Allison Pass from Hope to Princeton
Gusty winds will persist into Sunday night as the storm makes its way through the region. The Lower Mainland will see gusts of 50-80 km/h, while areas like Port Renfrew on southwestern Vancouver Island may see 90+ km/h gusts. Gusty winds will continue through the straits on Sunday.
Freezing levels will climb to 700 metres on Sunday, creating a flood risk as rain moves into the mountain passes.
Temperatures will rise above the freezing mark Sunday for western coastal sections, with milder Pacific air expected to spread east into the Interior by Monday, featuring daytime highs hovering around 0°C.
Beyond, an active pattern is expected for most of next week, with the potential for Arctic air to briefly return during the middle of next week. With it, there will be some potential for snow levels to drop back down to near sea level.
Thumbnail courtesy of Kitty Yip in Vancouver, B.C.
Check back for updates as we continue to monitor this system.