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Unsettled weekend for B.C. as Pacific system chases Arctic air out

Friday, February 19th 2021, 8:30 pm - A messy start to the weekend is ahead, but the incoming system will send freezing levels soaring.

It's been uncommonly chilly for the last few days in B.C., but temperatures closer to seasonal for the province are on their way, courtesy of an incoming system packed with mild Pacific moisture. It begins impacting the province Saturday morning, with heavy rains for most people, and heavy snows at the mountain passes. Beyond, somewhat unsettled conditions beckon. For more details, read on.


  • Next system begins impacting B.C. Saturday morning, spreading to cover the province through the day
  • Heavy rains at the coasts, heavy snows at the higher elevations
  • More seasonal, milder temperatures in the system's wake


After a prolonged period of cooler temperatures, the next system on the horizon will be packed with warm Pacific moisture, and is set to send B.C. back into a pattern more common in the winter in that province.

Arriving on western Vancouver Island Saturday morning and spreading toward the mainland and interior through the day, it will sweep the last lingering Arctic air from the province, sending freezing levels soaring past 1,000 metres between Saturday and Sunday.

What that means for people in populated areas is: whereas the last few systems brought snow or a rain/snow mix, this one will bring more of those familiar winter rains.

BC rain

Through Sunday, parts of western Vancouver Island will exceed 100 mm in total, along with some higher elevation areas of the Lower Mainland, with nary a flake in sight for most people.

All that very copious moisture will definitely manifest as snow at the higher elevations, however. Some mountain passes are set to be buried beneath 10-20 cm of snow, with travel very much nor recommended.

BC snow


Afterward, the province settles into a more familiar unsettled pattern into early next week – no major storms, but definitely a soggy situation.

Freezing levels peak at around 1,400 on Sunday, but fall again by a few hundred metres into next week, making for snowy conditions once again for the ski areas.

Mid-week, there's a chance for a brief dry spell, but forecasters expect another system to arrive late next week.

Check back as we continue to monitor the forecast.

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