Environment Canada warns of ‘significant’ snow, rain for Vancouver Island

Environment Canada warns of 'significant' snow, rain for Vancouver Island
File photo. Snow is pictured near Port Alberni on Dec. 9, 2023.

Parts of Vancouver Island could see snow for the first time this season, according to Environment Canada, which has issued special weather statements warning of “significant” precipitation for B.C.’s central and south coasts.

The statements from Sunday warn of a series of storms that will bring winter weather conditions, including significant snow and rain, to parts of B.C. from Monday through Tuesday.

The weather agency issued the alerts for north, east, south, west and inland sections of Vancouver Island, including Greater Victoria, as well as other parts of B.C., like the Southern Gulf Islands, Sunshine Coast and Metro Vancouver.

“On Monday, there will be the potential for snow to reach sea level along the coastal sections of the south coast and eastern Vancouver Island. Mild air moving into the region will help transition any snow to rain by Monday afternoon,” the agency said in the statements.

“For Monday night, the rain will become heavy, with the most significant amounts expected for West Vancouver Island,” it said, adding that weather statements could be upgraded to warnings as the event nears.

“Inland sections and higher terrain will be cold enough for snow on Monday. The snow will become more intense on Monday night, and significant snow accumulations are expected.”

Environment Canada says very strong winds will develop on the west side of the Island for Monday night and continue into Tuesday morning before reaching the inner south coast later that day.

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Meanwhile, an additional statement has been issued for the Malahat Highway from Goldstream to Mill Bay, where the agency says weather in the mountains “can change suddenly, resulting in hazardous driving conditions.”

It adds that road conditions are available at DriveBC.ca.

The statements come after many areas of the Island saw a historically warm December, including at the Victoria International Airport. The weather station there recorded its warmest December ever, with a mean temperature of 6.8°C last month.

Tofino airport saw its warmest December day on record on Dec. 28, 2023, with a high of 16°C.

“I guess the warmth we saw in December wasn’t really that unexpected with El Niño conditions dominating in the eastern Pacific,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Trevor Smith on Friday.

“Just because it’s an El Niño doesn’t mean we aren’t going to see any snow, or we won’t see any cold air,” he added in an interview with CHEK News.

Environment Canada encourages people to monitor alerts issued and says severe weather can be reported via email at [email protected] or by posting to X (formerly Twitter) using #BCStorm.

-with files from CHEK’s Adam Chan

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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