A brief drying-out period came to an end late Wednesday afternoon in B.C., with the arrival of a strong Pacific front. Heavy rain will persist Thursday, while the mountain passes will see a hefty shot of snow – possibly even some lower-elevation snow for some areas, though still a rain/snow mix for areas near the Lower Mainland coasts. At higher elevations, the alpine snow may raise the avalanche threat to dangerous levels once again. Powerful winds will whip through the region early Friday, as the system's impacts move out and make way for a much quieter weekend. More details and timing, below.
Next system move across the province through Thursday, coastal rain, alpine snow expected
Low-elevation snow or rain/snow mix potential for Lower Mainland, accumulating snow over higher terrain
Remaining unsettled until Friday, quiet weekend ahead
THURSDAY: HEAVY SNOW PROMPTS WARNINGS, THREATENS TRAVEL THROUGH MOUNTAIN PASSES
After a mostly dry Wednesday, the next Pacific front tracked into B.C. through the evening hours – bringing coastal rain and alpine snow, which will spread southward through Thursday.
Rainfall amounts will be heaviest along the northern coastal sections, where 60-90 mm is possible, but considerable totals are anticipated along parts of western Vancouver Island, as well, with 40-60 mm expected through Friday morning. The Lower Mainland could see 10-20 mm of rain.
With freezing levels down to just a few hundred metres, some low-elevation snow is possible, though surface temperatures across the Lower Mainland will remain above freezing, meaning precipitation will be primarily rain, with a period of a rain/snow mix.
More significant snow is expected for the North Shore ski areas and also for the southern and central Rockies. The additional snowfall for alpine regions will pile on to the existing snowpack, so the avalanche danger risk could be raised once again.
Snowfall accumulations will be quite hefty for some of the mountain passes, with 15-25 cm anticipated for Coquihalla, and Eagle and Roger passes. Between 10-20 cm is expected elsewhere in the alpine regions, where snowfall warnings were issued, urging drivers to adjust to the rapidly changing conditions in the mountain areas.
In addition to the rain and snow, winds will be an issue for parts of the coast, particularly Haida Gwaii, the Strait of Georgia and parts of Vancouver Island. Winds will ramp through Thursday, with 70-80 km/h gusts possible, especially in Victoria.
The wind threat extends into early Friday morning, before the system moves out.
Sunshine and seasonal temperatures will start the weekend across southern B.C., with the threat for rain showers returning by Sunday.
"Conditions will become unsettled at times with a couple of systems expected through the middle of next week, though with no major storms in sight," says Weather Network meteorologist Dr. Doug Gillham. "Each system will bring rain to coastal areas, but snow levels will be low enough for snow for ski areas."
Check back as we continue to monitor the unsettled pattern across B.C.