It was a freezing cold Wednesday for many Vancouver Islanders, and the chilly weather is expected to hang around until tomorrow.
In an alert posted on Feb. 10, the weather agency indicates that wind chill values ranging from -15 to -25 degrees could be experienced in the Greater Victoria area and on the Southern Gulf Islands tonight and Thursday.
The temperature in the area, without wind chill, will hover around -4 Celsius.
“We live on the south coast of B.C., we’re not used to this cold and these winds,” said Armel Castellan, warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada. “So it is a thermal shock, it’s like thermal whiplash because December and January have been so much warmer than normal.”
Rising surface pressures over the province’s interior is expected to continue driving arctic air through mainland valleys and inlets this week, according to a statement from the agency.
Castellan said temperatures are more likely to feel like -10 or -12 degrees celsius Wednesday night with the 30 km an hour winds that are expected in the Greater Victoria region.
“It is cold enough to cause frostbite, frostnip, hypothermia for those that are exposed long enough, so it is a very serious concern,” Castellan noted.
Environment Canada is advising that Islanders minimize exposed skin while spending time outdoors by wearing hats, scarves and gloves.
“Be prepared to put the layers on, stay dry, limit your time outside,” Castellan said. “Those are the big concerns in the immediate future.”
The agency adds that people should ensure shelter is provided for pets and outdoor animals.
According to Environment Canada, arctic air has settled over a large portion of southern B.C. and other parts of Vancouver Island are in for very cold conditions as well.
A weather alert suggests that coastal areas will be 5 to 10 degrees below seasonal averages, leading to the “coldest conditions seen this season.”
The frigid conditions are expected to remain until the end of the week.
Although the arctic air will bring chilly conditions right across the Island, the only snowfall warning in place is on the east coast between Courtenay and Campbell River.
Environment Canada says conditions are “favourable” for the development of localized flurries in that area on Wednesday.
The weather agency suggests that five centimetres of snow could accumulate rapidly, within the span of a few hours.