Environment Canada has issued dozens of warnings of winter weather in British Columbia as most of the province prepares for another round of extreme cold and heavy snowfall to end the year.
With Arctic outflow winds and cold temperatures on Wednesday, it could feel as cold as -20 C on the south coast from Fraser Valley to Whistler.
In the northern BC. it could feel up to 20 degrees colder with wind cooling values as low as -41 C in the forecast Prince George.
The extremely cold wind cooling is due to an Arctic ridge above the interior of BC, bringing strong and bitterly cold outflow winds to the coastal communities, Environment Canada explained.
This means that temperatures in Metro Vancouver will remain below -6 C on Wednesday afternoon as the clouds gather and the snow begins to fall tonight.
“We are looking at a system that is heading down the coast. We will be looking at increasing cloudiness this afternoon and a little bit of snow tonight,” said Environment Canada meteorologist David Wray.
The Meteorological Agency noted that frostbite and hypothermia can occur within minutes if adequate precautions are not taken when outdoors.
More snow before New Year
Between 5 and 10 cm of snow is expected to cover the southwestern part of BC – including the lower mainland and east coast of Vancouver Island from Victoria to Campbell River – starting Wednesday night.
Larger amounts of snow could be seen locally in some areas such as the Sunshine Coast, North Shore Mountains and parts of Vancouver Island.
According to the weather bureau, the storm system will move over the south coast overnight before slowing down Thursday morning. Forecasters warned that visibility will be affected and make the journey difficult.
Wray said the sky will look clearer on Friday but still cold before another storm system moves into Saturday, making it difficult to predict when the cold will end.
“The difficult part is because of the heavier rainfall that comes through Saturday and Sunday – how fast does it change from snow to rain? It could also mean some snow at higher altitudes and maybe rain closer to the water.”
Still, Wray said the start of 2022 is expected to start a slight warming of temperatures.
“We see the light at the end of the tunnel. Things are slowly heating up.”