Cold wave could bring frigid temperatures to Vancouver Island, with snow likely for Christmas


It’s a chilly start to the week and the weather is only expected to get colder, thanks to a cold wave.

Forecasters are warning that a frigid air mass that originated over Siberia is headed B.C.’s way. “That’s going to be pushing southeastward, through Alaska, and right down to British Columbia late this week and we’re going to have some intense cold air really building up all the way to the coast,” explains AccuWeather senior meteorologist Brett Anderson.The cold wave is expected to hit Vancouver Island on Friday, which is Christmas Eve, and intensify over the holiday weekend.

The freezing temperatures will greatly increase chances of snow as another moisture-packed storm moves in off the Pacific.“We’re definitely very concerned,” says Jordan Cooper of Our Place Society. “Anytime we start getting cold temperatures and the prospect of snow, where people are possibly not able to stay warm enough or dry enough, we’re concerned.”Victoria’s emergency weather protocol has been activated and extra shelter space is being opened up.

Currently, the Salvation Army A.R.C. at 525 Johnson Street is the only shelter open during the emergency weather alert, which has 30 co-ed mats. The Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness keeps a list of open emergency weather shelters on their website, which will update as the situation changes.

Our Place has also set up heaters in its courtyard so people can warm up.“With different COVID protocols, we’re limited with how many people can come inside, so we have some tents and heaters in our courtyard to at least get them out of the elements,” Cooper explains. It was already snowing on the mid-Island Monday and more wintry weather and possibly freezing rain was forecast for the East Island, Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast Tuesday, which could cause travel issues.“Bridges and overpasses are the first thing that will ice up, keep that in mind so if you’re driving over a bridge or overpass, ease up on the brakes and keep the steering wheel straight and glide over it,” Anderson advises.And while the models disagree on how much snow we could get this week, Victoria now has a better chance for a white Christmas than Toronto — and forecasters say it’s looking pretty likely.

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