Snow, sub-zero temperatures forecast for Vancouver Island amid arctic outflow

Photo credit: Nicholas Pescod

Just when you thought the worst of the weather was over, a cold Arctic outflow is ushering in snow and sub-zero temperatures to Vancouver Island.

Environment Canada has issued special weather statements for Greater Victoria and east and inland sections of the Island, saying two to 10 centimetres of snow is expected to fall Tuesday night through Wednesday night.

An arctic front should move across the south coast, “bringing showers and flurries to spread across the southern half of Vancouver Island,” according to the weather agency.

It says light snowfall is expected tonight, with higher amounts of up to five centimetres possible from the Malahat to Nanaimo, and warns drivers of potentially slippery road conditions.

At Emcon Services’ Shawnigan Lake works yard, trucks are already loaded with brine and salt, Division Manager Stewart Westwood told CHEK News Tuesday.

“We’re going to have wet roads here overnight into the morning hours. And as it clears off, it’ll change to freezing very quickly. So people need to not be so aggressive in their driving and get caught off guard,” said Westwood.

“It can go quickly when it freezes, it flashes.”

Mix that in with strong winds to blow across Greater Victoria and the Southern Gulf Islands, Environment Canada’s statements come less than a day after adverse weather knocked out the power and left around 50,000 BC Hydro customers on the Island in the dark overnight Monday.

“It was blowing harder than we’ve ever seen, and we’ve been here maybe 18 years,” said Central Saanich resident Rick Hawkes, whose fir tree was knocked down by the wind.

“My wife came out this morning and said this one is leaning. I walked over, and it split off above the roots. It just snapped right off, and it’s 60 feet tall, maybe more,” he told CHEK News.

READ ALSO: B.C. windstorm that left thousands without power eases, but arctic outflow up next for Vancouver Island

Near Sooke, Monday night’s wind speeds lived up to since-rescinded warnings, with gusts of up to 106 kilometres an hour recorded at the Sheringham Point weather station.

Meanwhile, in Cobble Hill, the roof of Tyler Hayes’ family home was caved in by a tree and he says luckily, no one was injured.

“At least it’s on the corner of the house, it’s on this side,” said Haynes.

“I was just hearing a lot of debris falling on the roof, so I came out to see what was going on. And as that was happening, I saw the tree just fall straight down onto the house.”

More wind on the way for Greater Victoria

Yet, in Greater Victoria and surrounding areas, more wind is on the way.

“In addition, northeast winds gusting to 60 km/h will develop this evening over Greater Victoria and Southern Gulf Islands behind the arctic front. These winds will persist on Wednesday,” Environment Canada said in a statement issued around 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Locals should also bundle up, as the weather forecast calls for temperatures to plunge below seasonal. Over the next few days, Victoria is expected to see highs of no more than 3 degrees Celsius, while overnight temperatures will drop as low as -5C. 

Bobby Sekhon, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, is bracing for the chill, telling CHEK News the weather is about to take a turn. 

“We’re going to see temperatures drop below zero, especially overnight. We’re going to see temperatures five to 10 degrees below average,” said Sekhon in an interview.

“That means, for example, Thursday night in the Greater Victoria area, we could see temperatures down to minus five, minus six overnight.”

Come Wednesday, another round of snow is expected, with two to five centimetres during the day to continue into the night before tapering off early Thursday, Environment Canada added in its statements.

Victoria’s 7-day forecast:

(Screenshot: Environment Canada)

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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