‘Fairly uncommon’: Parts of Vancouver Island receive April snow

'Fairly uncommon': Parts of Vancouver Island receive April snow
Residents in Nanoose Bay (pictured above) and other parts of Vancouver Island woke up to a surprise dusting of snow on April 10. (Margaret Mac Phail)

Some parts of Vancouver Island woke up to an unusual scene for early-April – snow.

Dave Wray, meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada says a weather pattern on Vancouver Island brought the snow.

“We have an upper low that’s currently overtop of the southern part of Vancouver Island, and it’s quite cold, so it’s producing some wet snow at higher elevations,” Wray said. “We’ve got an indication of some kind of mixed rain and snow up east Island towards Nanaimo and Comox.”

He says although surface temperatures aren’t too cold, the air mass is quite cold, which is resulting in wet snow.

By noon, high areas of Nanoose Bay had seen upwards of 15 to 20 centimetres of snow leaving some residents in shock.

“Well it was fun in January but not so much in April,” said Nanoose Bay resident Debbie Keenleyside.

“Yeah a total shock. The daffodils are laying sideways, tulips as well and my rodos are blooming and there’s the odd little bit of red between all that snow,” said local resident Maria Bieberstein.

BC Hydro reported 40,000 customers without power at the peak of the storm. The hardest hit areas were between Lantzville and Qualicum Bay. Crews were quickly able to reduce the number to 28,000, but many people were without power for the better part of Sunday.

Even a BC Hydro truck got stuck in the snow in Nanoose Bay.

“That’s always a challenge for our crews,” BC Hydro spokesperson Ted Olynyk told CHEK News. “It’s not just doing the work when they get there but sometimes it’s actually getting there, and you have this heavy wet snow and it’s going to bring down trees, that’s going to break branches and come in contact with our lines.”

Wray says the snow is expected to continue until noon, with daytime highs expecting to reach up to 8°C on south Vancouver Island and lower temperatures for east Vancouver Island.

“The biggest threat is this morning, and then we are expecting that conditions to improve into the afternoon,” Wray said. “There’ll still be some showers off and on with this low that’s over top of us, but then looking a lot better for Monday.”

He says on Monday there will be a mix of sun and cloud with daytime highs reaching 11°C, which will last until Wednesday.

Wednesday night rain is expected and that will last into Thursday, according to Wray.

For lower elevations, Wray says snow is uncommon in early-April, but not for higher elevations.

“I would say it’s fairly uncommon at sea level especially, but over higher elevations I wouldn’t say it’s too uncommon,” Wray said. “Especially the highway passes or even you know, as you go up 200 meters in elevation, especially in early April as you get towards later April it becomes even more uncommon.”

The DriveBC Highway camera on the Malahat showed snow. The website says at 9 a.m. the temperature was at -0.5°C with 1 cm of snow accumulated.

DriveBC’s HighwayCam shows a dusting of snow at the Malahat Summit on April 10.

People took to Twitter to share images of the April snow dusting, including CHEK News’ Skye Ryan in Nanaimo.

In Ucluelet the snow was still falling around 7:30 a.m.

Viewer submitted photos

Kate and John Roberts say at their home in Shawnigan Lake, the snow continued until 11:15.

Ian Hamilton says the snow at his Shawnigan Lake home was a “big surprise.”

Tanya Henry captured this hummingbird at her Spectacle Lake home braving the snowy conditions to visit her hummingbird feeder.

Lucinda Taylor in North Saanich says she woke up to this “winter wonderland” in April.

North Saanich

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Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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