Environment Canada has issued arctic outflow warnings and special weather statements for parts of Vancouver Island, saying the wind chill over the coming days could cause frostbite for people in some areas as others see “significant” snowfall.
The weather agency is calling it “the first Arctic intrusion of the year,” adding in the outflow warnings issued Wednesday that areas throughout B.C. will be hit with wind chill values of -20°C starting Thursday night to Saturday morning.
Along with Greater Victoria and the North Island, the Southern Gulf Islands, Haida Gwaii and parts of B.C.’s mainland, like Metro Vancouver, are included in these outflow warnings, which are listed on Environment Canada’s website.
“Arctic air combined with strong outflow winds gusting to 60 km/h will generate wind chill values of minus 20 beginning on Thursday night,” the agency said.
“Wind chill values may moderate on Saturday afternoon, but uncertainty remains on the timing of the warm-up.”
It says frostbite and hypothermia can occur within minutes if adequate precautions are not taken when outdoors, adding, “Any skin exposure will result in frostbite.”
“If outside, dress warmly in layers and stay dry. Cover as much exposed skin as possible to avoid frostbite,” it said.
Meanwhile, on the East Island, areas from Fanny Bay to Duncan, including the Malahat Highway, are under special weather statements due to snow.
“Potential for significant snowfall associated with a low-pressure centre and an approaching arctic front,” Environment Canada said, noting the snow will start Thursday afternoon and likely end falling later that night.
“There is still some uncertainty regarding the snowfall amounts that are expected,” it added in these statements, which were also issued Wednesday afternoon.
People on Vancouver Island have already experienced their fair share of stormy weather this week. On Tuesday, for example, wind warnings were issued for Greater Victoria and the West Island, where gusts were expected to reach 70 to 90 km/h.
Environment Canada encourages people to monitor the alerts it issues and report severe weather by emailing [email protected] or posting to X (formerly Twitter) using #BCStorm.
❄️ #snowfall alert for east island ❄️
— Tess van Straaten (@tessvanstraaten) January 11, 2024