Thursday, December 19th 2019, 9:00 am - Heavy rain, snow and strong winds are set to impact the B.C. coast Thursday
More unsettled weather is on the way for British Columbia, courtesy of an atmospheric river that will soak the Pacific coast with as much as 150 mm of rain and drop between 40-60 cm of snow on the alpine region through Saturday. The snow is certainly most welcomed by skiers ready to hit the slopes. For timing on when to expect the rain and snow, and how much will fall on what areas, read below.
What are your chances for a white Christmas? Find out with The Weather Network's official Christmas snowfall forecast, here
- Through Saturday, 100 to 150 mm of rain expected in some areas along the coast
- Heavy mountain snow expected for South, Central Coast and Vancouver Island
- Strong winds in the Strait of Georgia and Juan De Fuca
- Stay aware of weather ALERTS in your area
THURSDAY -- BULK OF RAIN, WINDS, SNOW TO FALL AT NIGHT
An atmospheric river is expected to bring more heavy rain to the South Coast. The bulk of the precipitation will fall overnight Thursday into Friday morning. Environment Canada has issued a rainfall warning for West Vancouver Island, where rainfall amounts could reach 150 mm through Saturday.
Much of the coast is expected to receive 100-150 mm of rain by the time the system pushes into Alberta Friday. With the rain, comes the potential for landslides and localized flooding.
Winds will also be a problem, as gusts will pick up through the Strait of Georgia and the Juan De Fuca -- reaching as high 80 km/h. The Fraser Valley will also experience strong wind gusts Thursday evening into Friday morning, with gusts approaching 70 km/h.
ATMOSPHERIC RIVER IS TO BLAME
An 'atmospheric river' -- a direct flow of tropical moisture -- will continue to funnel copious amounts of moisture from the vicinity of Hawaii through to the U.S. Pacific Northwest through the end of the week.
Along with the heavy rain, the tropical moisture will bring heavy snow to higher elevations. Whistler's alpine region has the potential to see 40-60 cm of snow, while Mount Washington on Vancouver Island is forecasted to receive 20-30 cm through Friday morning.
The snow will likely change to rain at times at the bases of the North Shore ski areas, but seven-day snow totals will reach or exceed 100 cm in many alpine areas. Snow levels will rise to 1,500 metres by Friday morning, but fall to 800 metres by Saturday.
This is a critical week for the ski industry, especially for resorts near the South Coast of B.C. that have been struggling to open so far this season. This week's pattern should help to set them up well for the busy holiday season that is quickly approaching.
The snow will likely change to rain at times at the bases of the North Shore ski areas, but seven-day snow totals will reach or exceed 100 cm in many alpine areas.