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Vigorous storm slams B.C. with 100+ km/h winds, thousands without power

Tuesday, January 5th 2021, 10:02 pm - Powerful winds, which have knocked power out to thousands across B.C., will continue through the overnight hours Tuesday before winding down Wednesday morning.

Effects from the intense winter storm will continue to impact B.C. through the overnight hours, with powerful wind gusts of 100 km/h still possible for some areas. The winds knocked out power to thousands, as many as 26,000 at one point Tuesday evening. The storm also brought down numerous trees as a result. Heavy rain and alpine snow will also hang on through the overnight hours, before conditions improve Wednesday morning. More details on the effects of this storm, what's left of it, as well as the active pattern continuing beyond, below.


WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Winds, rain, alpine snow continue through the overnight hours Tuesday, diminishing Wednesday morning
  • Thousands of customers still without power, avalanche danger remains elevated Wednesday
  • Alpine regions could see up to 2 metres of snow by the end of this week

INTO WEDNESDAY MORNING: WINDS, RAIN, SNOW SUBSIDE

The stormy conditions will linger through the overnight hours as the potent frontal system continues to track through B.C. Numerous rainfall, snowfall and wind warnings remain in effect.

MUST SEE: B.C. stays 'wet and wild' in a country-wide milder start to January

Rainfall totals will be excessive for western Vancouver Island, where 75-100+ mm of rain is possible through Wednesday morning, while parts of the Lower Mainland may see 50-75+ mm of rain. Because of this, localized flooding is possible. A rainfall warning is still in effect for western Vancouver Island and Metro Vancouver.

BCrain2

"Given the already saturated ground and additional heavy precipitation, there will be the risk of flooding or landslides in already compromised areas," says Weather Network meteorologist Nadine Hinds-Powell.

POWER OUTAGES REMAIN, THREAT FOR WIND GUSTS OVER 100 KM/H

As a result of the intense winds, thousands of customers are still without power in the province, according to BC Hydro. Most of the impacts are on Vancouver Island.

Strong wind gusts may approach 100 km/h for the South Coast and parts of Vancouver Island through the overnight hours. Winds will also remain strong for the Strait of Georgia and Juan de Fuca during this time.

On Tuesday, parts of the northern, central and southern coastal areas of B.C. have recorded winds in excess of 120 km/h. Some of the strongest wind gusts were 137 km/h in Cumshewa Island, 131 km/h at Sandspit airport, 128 km/h in Rose Spit, 126 km/h in Bonilla Island, 122 km/h in Quatsino Lightstation, 120 km/h at Herbert Island and 114 km/h at Discovery Island, among others.

BCStormSummary

Meanwhile, an offshore wind gust of 152 km/h was recorded near Solander.

There is the potential for some structural damage while trees have been downed in multiple locations.

ROAD CLOSURES DUE TO THE AVALANCHE RISK

Snowfall warnings are in effect for Whistler and Howe Sound regions, where 15-20 cm of snow is expected before tapering of to flurries in the overnight hours.

BCsnow2

Freezing levels have climbed and will hold steady at 1000 metres before dropping to 500 metres Wednesday. This could make for even more difficult travel beyond the mountain passes.

As a result of the fresh snowpack, all lanes of a section of the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) between Hope and Merritt will be closed for six hours as of 10 p.m. PDT, to allow for proactive avalanche control at the Coquihalla Summit.

Due to the additional accumulations of snow, the avalanche danger will remain elevated across the mountain passes Wednesday -- with most peaks been designated with 'considerable' or 'high' ratings.

AvalancheBCDanger

Conditions will improve Wednesday morning, with winds easing off then, but there could be some lingering light snow in the higher elevations and isolated showers along the coast.

The province gets a brief reprieve from the unrelenting stormy weather before the next system moves in for the pre-dawn hours Friday morning.

WIDESPREAD POWER OUTAGES LEAVE THOUSANDS OF B.C. RESIDENTS IN THE DARK

STORM TOTALS BY WEEK'S END

In all, seven-day rain totals of 100-150 mm are expected for the South Coast by the end of the week, with 50-75 mm forecast for Victoria and as much as 200-300 mm for western Vancouver Island.

Some of the hardest-hit mountain passes are likely to pick up as much as two metres of snow by the end of this week.

BCLRsnow

Temperature-wise, daytime highs will be near to slightly-below seasonal for coastal areas, and near seasonal for the Interior and east, with no sustained Arctic air in sight.

Stay tuned to The Weather Network for the latest forecasts.

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