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Unusually strong storm threatens powerful winds heavy rain alpine snow over B.C.

Tuesday, May 17th 2022, 7:00 pm - While it's certainly not uncommon for impactful spring storms to hit B.C., the next Pacific system is not your average low -- exhibiting traits typically seen with a fall storm.

More on what to expect with the impending storm and beyond, below.


An unseasonably strong low-pressure system will make landfall on Vancouver Island Tuesday overnight, bringing intense southeasterly winds and heavy precipitation to much of the South Coast.

By early Wednesday morning, the low will have deepened to around 990 hPa of pressure, a typically strong fall storm. A low like this can generate wave heights of 5-7 metres off the northwestern tip of Vancouver Island.


As the cold front passes, winds will shift to intense westerlies or southwesterlies by Wednesday morning, impacting western Vancouver Island, and potentially Qualicum, Victoria, Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley. Strong southerlies will also funnel up the Sea to Sky.

The most intense winds will spread inland later on Wednesday, peaking along western Vancouver Island during the first half of the day, with gusts exceeding 90 km/h. Georgia Strait will see lower wind speeds, generally 40-70 km/h through most of Wednesday, but gustier southwest winds near Victoria might be problematic.

The winds aloft are enhanced across southern Vancouver Island, so it is possible to see mix-down gusts approaching 90 km/h for the Gulf Islands and Greater Victoria -- this will cause power outages and probable ferry delays.


Strong wind gusts will continue through Wednesday afternoon and early evening, but will fall below warning criteria during the former.

"Damage to buildings, such as to roof shingles and windows, may occur. High winds may toss loose objects or cause tree branches to break. High winds may result in power outages and fallen tree branches. Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions due to high winds," Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) says.

Special weather statements and wind warnings span the region, with the chance of more of the latter being issued.


For the coast, rainfall will intensify Wednesday morning and continuing through the day, easing off in the overnight hours. Amounts will range from 15-40 mm for the Lower Mainland, and 50-75 mm for the Okanagan Valley and western Vancouver Island.

As well, the freezing level is also stubbornly low, meaning it will likely only be a few hundred metres above sea level at times on Wednesday across Vancouver Island. The mountain passes across the Interior will also be coated in snowfall once again, thanks to freezing levels around 1000 to 1500 metres at night.


However, during the daytime, levels will rise to 2000 metres, so mixing is likely. Snow will ramp up early Wednesday morning, likely meaning hazardous travel through the mountain passes. Snowfall amounts will be heaviest in the Sea to Sky, Coquihalla and Allison Pass regions, where 15-30+ cm of snow is possible this week.

image - 2022-05-17T062150.207

Conditions become drier late week and will continue through most of the weekend. The risk for showers returns Monday, but no major storms in are sight at this point. Cooler than seasonal temperatures will dominate for the next two weeks, right through the end of May.

Stay tuned to The Weather Network for the latest forecast updates for B.C.

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