Snow falls on northern Vancouver Island, likely to hit Malahat and Highway 4 overnight

Snow falls on northern Vancouver Island, likely to hit Malahat and Highway 4 overnight
Drive BC
Snow is seen on Highway 28 near Gold River on a Drive BC highway camera, Nov. 3, 2022.

It looks like Vancouver Island is going from summer-like warmth to winter weather in the span of a month.

Continuing with the trend of rapidly changing weather patterns on the Island this year, Environment and Climate Change Canada is now forecasting snow for some regions this week.

The first flakes had already fallen on the North Island by Thursday afternoon, covering highways near Woss and Gold River, west of Campbell River, according to Drive BC highway cameras.

Overnight on Thursday, high elevations on the Island like the Malahat and Port Alberni Summit are also likely to get snow, though it is unlikely to stick.

“Those really high passes of the Island could see some wet snow mixed with rain before everything warms up by morning and it’s raining everywhere,” Alyssa Charbonneau, meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada told CHEK News in a phone interview.

“It will melt very quickly as we are not expecting things to stay cool. So the system that’s bringing all the rains beginning today and through tomorrow, it’s going to bring a fair amount of warm air with it, and that’ll be arriving sometime overnight.”

She says southern Vancouver Island and areas near the Strait of Juan de Fuca are expected to get winds of up to 80 or 90 km/h Thursday and Friday.

The next bout of snow for the Island is not far behind that, with many parts expected to get hit starting Monday evening into Tuesday.

“We’re gonna have a cool airmass settle over [the Island] and then sort of unsettled showers flurries around the area,” Charbonneau said. “There’s no real confidence in amounts that we’ll see, anywhere that’s kind of higher elevations, of course, like the highway routes, might have a better chance of seeing some of those flurries.”

She notes that East Vancouver Island and the areas of the Island south of Tofino and Port Alberni are expected to get snow of Monday.

Charbonneau says the daytime temperatures are expected to get up to around six or seven degrees, so the snow on those days is also not expected to stick.

On the Island, the 30-year average for snowfall in October is usually around 0.2 centimetres, and 0.4 centimetres for November. Charbonneau says snow at this time of year is not common, but not unheard of.

Though she says the temperatures are lower than usual.

“Average temperatures for this time of year, we’re more looking at temperatures that are a bit warmer, daytime highs of around 10 degrees and overnight lows of around four,” Charbonneau said.

“Certainly we’re going to be cooler than that. Going into Sunday, and then really into next week, too, when we see temperatures overnight dropping down to freezing, that’s definitely colder than normal for this time of year.”

This weather pattern continues with the unusual temperatures the province has seen through the fall, with record highs in the early fall, to now with colder than normal temperatures.

“We had the really high temperatures that was a very persistent ridge of high pressure that we had over western Canada for right to the end of summer into the early part of fall,” Charbonneau said.

“And that was what was the cause of seeing those really high temperatures just persisting and persisting then when that pattern broke down it opened the door to storm systems coming off of the Pacific.”

Given the weather, Charbonneau encourages people to ensure they always have an emergency kit handy.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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