Snow blankets Vancouver Island on Christmas, Boxing Day

Homes seen near Duncan, B.C. on Boxing Day. The community, along with many others on Vancouver Island, was belted with a blast of winter over Christmas and Boxing Day. (Nicholas Pescod/CHEK News)

Vancouver Island was belted with a blast of winter over Christmas and Boxing Day.

Communities from Nanaimo to Port Hardy, including Campbell River, Comox, Courtenay, Qualicum Beach and Union Bay all had snow on Christmas Day. Lake Cowichan and other inland Island communities also had snow on Christmas Day.

However, many of the Island communities that had escaped any measurable amounts of snow on Christmas Day, woke up to the white stuff on Boxing Day.

Data for Christmas Day and Boxing Day for most communities on the Island isn’t available just yet, but CHEK viewers across the Island have reported anywhere from a few centimetres of snow to more than 50 centimetres of the white stuff.

RELATED: Arctic outflow and snowfall warnings for Vancouver Island on Boxing Day

Greater Victoria

Greater Victoria, saw anywhere from 2 centimetres of snow or greater snow on Boxing Day, depending on where. Downtown Victoria had a couple of centimetres at best while other parts saw around 5 centimetres of snow or more.

Saanich PD issued a warning to motorists on Sunday morning urging them to avoid the roads and stay home.

“Snow and ice are not really common to Victoria. A lot of drivers aren’t really familiar with how to take those approaches when driving with the snow and ice. So, there are increased levels of MVIs,” Const. Spencer Loverock of the Saanich PD told CHEK News Sunday.

Langford and Goldstream received at least 5 to 10 cm of snow in some parts by Boxing Day morning.

Downtown Victoria received around 2 to 5 cm of snow or less in some parts, was considerably empty on Boxing Day morning, as it appeared many shoppers opted to either stay home or wait until later in the day to hit the roads and sidewalks.

But for many families in the Capital region, the snow was a great excuse to go outside and sled.

“It’s really fun,” said Nikolas Stamatakis. “We’re building a snowman at our house and maybe having a competition who can go the faster on our sleds.”

Despite the frigid temperatures, he and his family plan on returning again soon, hoping for more snow.

“I like the snow,” said his mother Erin. “I like lots of snow. I just hope it keeps coming.”

People walking in downtown Victoria on Boxing Day. (Photo submitted to CHEK News)


Nanaimo and nearby communities had around 7 cm of snow on the ground on Dec. 23, according to Environment Canada. Another 8.2 cm of the white stuff on Christmas Eve and even more came on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Again, data hasn’t been made available on Environment Canada’s website yet for Dec. 25 and Dec. 26, but some viewers report as much as 50 cm on the ground.

CHEK’s Skye Ryan said on social media Sunday that multiple vehicles were in the ditch along the Nanaimo Parkway, where a considerable amount of snow could be seen.



Cowichan Valley

Duncan, North Cowichan and other nearby communities, particularly in the southern part of Cowichan Valley, didn’t have any measurable amount of snow on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

But that all changed on Boxing Day as residents in the Cowichan Valley woke up to as much as 15 cm of snow in some parts.

Cobble Hill, Mill Bay, Shawnigan Lake all saw measurable snow throughout Boxing Day morning.

Lake Cowichan, which already had at least 5 cm of snow on the ground on Christmas Day, also received more of the white stuff on Boxing Day.


Oceanside, Comox Valley and Campbell River

Communities from Parksville all the way to Campbell River, including Qualicum Beach and Union Bay, woke up to snow on Christmas morning.

Campbell River, like most parts north of the Cowichan Valley, already had some degree of snow on the ground entering Christmas Eve.

According to, Campbell River had 12.8 cm of snow on Dec. 23 and received another 5.4 cm on Dec. 24. At least another 10 cm of snow fell in the area on Christmas Day and even more fell on Boxing Day.

Meanwhile, Comox saw 12 cm of snow on Dec. 24 and 9.8 cm of snow on Dec. 25, according to

Photos on social media show 20 to 30 cm in Qualicum Beach on Christmas morning and at least 10 cm had been expected to fall in the area on Boxing Day.

An arctic outflow warning was also issued Sunday for the East Vancouver Island from Courtenay to Campbell River, as well as Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Howe Sound, the Sea to Sky Highway, Whistler, and parts of the Sunshine Coast as an arctic ridge of high pressure produces bitterly cold conditions between now and Wednesday.

The outflow winds combined with falling temperatures are expected to produce wind chill values below minus 20 and result in record or near-record cold.

Frostbite and hypothermia can occur within minutes in those conditions if you’re not dressed for the weather.


Vancouver, Washington, Idaho get snow too

Vancouver also received an unexpected white Christmas too.

The city recorded 6.9 cm of snow on Christmas Eve and recorded 2.2 cm on Christmas Day, with most of it coming in the afternoon, according to Environment Canada.

“We only get one about every 11 years. That’s how infrequent it is,” Environment Canada meteorologist Gregg Walters told The Canadian Press that of the two to five centimetres that Vancouver and surrounding areas saw on Saturday.

The criteria is a little challenging, Walters admitted. There technically has to be two centimetres on the ground by 7 a.m. for it to count as a true white Christmas, and he said it didn’t start snowing until later Christmas morning.

“The last time we actually had a dusting of snow on Christmas Day was in 2017,” he noted, although he wasn’t sure if two centimetres accumulated then.

Most people who posted pictures of the Christmas snowfall in Vancouver on social media weren’t hung up on technicalities. At Sunset Beach, one person even posted video of kids sledding on a hill.

Snow also blanketed parts of the U.S. northwest over the Christmas holidays.

Between 7 and 13 centimeters of snow fell in Seattle overnight. Observers in Port Angeles, across the Puget Sound on the Olympic Peninsula, reported about 28 centimeters of snow.

Another 5 to 13 centimeters of snow were expected to fall in parts of northwest and west central Washington during the day, the National Weather Service said.

Portland received a dusting of snow from the storm but the city was expected to get another 6 centimeters during the day, according to the weather service.

“It’s cold enough for snow and there’s enough moisture around, so we have enough snow to see snowfall across the area,” National Weather Service Seattle meteorologist Jacob DeFlitch told The Seattle Times.

Frigid temperatures in the region could tie or break records in the coming days.

The Seattle area is expected to dip as low as -7.7 C, the lowest in several years. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, will drop to -20 C by Wednesday.

In Portland in the early part of the week, overnight temperatures will be cold too, dipping down to around -6 C.

Snow hits California, Nevada

The Pacific Northwest was by no means, the only area on the West Coast to get hit with snow.

A major Christmas weekend storm caused whiteout conditions and closed key highways amid blowing snow in mountains of Northern California and Nevada, with forecasters warning that travel in the Sierra Nevada could be difficult for several days.

Authorities near Reno reported a 20-car pileup on a snow-blow highway where drivers described whiteout conditions. And a 112-kilometre stretch of Interstate 80 was shut Sunday from Colfax, California, through the Lake Tahoe region to the Nevada state line. The California Department of Transportation also closed other mountain routes while warning of poor visibility and slippery conditions for drivers.

“Expect major travel delays on all roads,” the National Weather Service office in Reno, Nevada, said on Twitter. “Today is the type of day to just stay home if you can. More snow is on the way too!”

The weather service issued a winter storm warning for greater Lake Tahoe until 1 a.m. Tuesday because of possible “widespread whiteout conditions” and wind gusts that could top 72 km/h.

Turbulent weather stretched from Southern California to Seattle, where several inches of snow fell on Sunday.

Rockslides caused by heavy rain closed more than 64 kilometres of coastal Highway 1 in the Big Sur region south of the San Francisco Bay Area. There was no estimate for the reopening of the scenic stretch that is frequently shut after wet weather.

The latest in a series of blustery storms hit Southern California with heavy rain and wind that flooded streets and knocked down power lines late Saturday. Powerful gusts toppled trees, damaged carports and blew a track-and-field shed from a Goleta high school into a front yard two blocks away, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. No injuries were reported.

More than 4.5 centimeters of rain fell over 24 hours in Santa Barbara County’s San Marcos pass, while Rocky Butte in San Luis Obispo County recorded 4 centimeters, the weather service said.

Los Angeles International Airport said a “storm-related electrical issue” forced a partial closure of Terminal 5, causing post-Christmas passengers to divert to other terminals for certain services.

“Cancellations and delays are possible, so it will be important to check your flight status today if flying through Terminal 5,” LAX tweeted.

In the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles, crews were repairing a section of State Route 18 that washed down a hillside after heavy rain late Thursday. The closure of the major route into the Big Bear ski resort area could last for weeks, officials said.

The continuing storms were welcomed in parched California, where the Sierra snowpack had been at dangerously low levels after weeks for dry weather. But the state Department of Water Resources reported on Christmas Eve that the snowpack was between 114 per cent and 137 per cent of normal across the range with more snow expected.

Before Sunday, 50 centimeters of snow already had fallen at Homewood on Lake Tahoe’s west shore. About 30 centimeters was reported at Northstar near Truckee, California, and 25 centimeters at the Mount Rose ski resort on the southwest edge of Reno.

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday that its deputies said as many as 20 cars were involved in a series of wrecks in the southbound lane of U.S. Route 395 near Lake Tahoe. Drivers described white-out conditions with poor visibility.

The sheriff’s department used social media posts to urge people to avoid travel and stay home. The messages included images of white, snow-crusted highways and cloudy skies.

With files from the Associated Press


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