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Winter chill, ideal freezing levels yield B.C. South Coast snow setup

Saturday, January 23rd 2021, 9:03 pm - An inbound low-pressure system and lingering Arctic air are creating a perfect setup for a shot of snow across lower elevations of B.C.'s South Coast Sunday.

Thanks to a moisture-laden Pacific front moving in overnight, and freezing levels in the 300-400-metre range, people along much of the coasts of Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland will be waking to snow or a rain/snow mix, including parts of Metro Vancouver. Rising daytime highs will change that to rain for areas nearest the coast, but at higher elevations, more substantial amounts up to 10 are possible, even higher inland of eastern Vancouver Island. For a closer look, see below.


WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

  • Moisture comes ashore overnight, light snow or a rain/snow mix for areas near the coast
  • Coastal areas change back to rain as temperatures rise, remain as snow for higher elevation areas
  • More potential systems next week

SUNDAY INTO MONDAY: LOW FREEZING LEVELS BRING SNOW FOR THE SOUTH COAST

With temperatures cool, freezing levels low and the incoming system packed with Pacific moisture, the stage is set to snow for coastal areas by early Sunday morning, switching over from rain through the overnight.

Light wet snow, or rain mixed with snow near sea-level, will be relatively widespread across Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland for the morning, with the mixed precipitation changing to wet snow as precipitation rates rise.

BCSnowTiming

The complex terrain around the South Coast will result in varied snowfall totals across the region. Communities near the water including Comox, Parksville, Nanaimo and downtown Vancouver may up to 5 cm of snow. Higher elevations and inland sections of Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley-West, Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast will see higher accumulations.

At this time, elevations near 400 metres in Metro Vancouver could see up to 10 cm of snow. Inland and higher elevations of eastern Vancouver Island, from Campbell River to Courtenay, may see 10-20 cm.

BCSnow (SatAM)

As you trek further into the southern Interior, there will be very little, if any, snow, given that though there will be abundant cold, but little moisture to work with.

Snow will change to rain or become mixed with rain late Sunday afternoon. Effects from the system look to taper off by early Monday morning.

NEXT WEEK: CHANCE OF MORE UNSETTLED WEATHER MID- AND LATE-WEEK

Freezing levels will climb steadily after this system passes, rising to 900 metres by mid-week. Meanwhile, forecasters are keeping an eye on another potent system sliding down the coast during the middle of the week.

However, at this time, it will most likely stay too far offshore to have a major impact on the region, but it warrants close monitoring.

Another system is possible late-week or on the weekend.

Check back as we continue to watch the weekend forecast.

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