A storm sweeping into the West Coast has brought beneficial snow to mountain areas that have desperately needed some relief this season.
The lack of a decent snowpack has impacted winter and even some summer events in the province, with organizers adjusting scheduling or outright cancelling the attractions. Such was the case with the upcoming B.C. Winter Games, which now won't have any snow sports as a result of…well, no snow.
However, there is some good news on the horizon for those longing for the slopes in B.C., with a fresh round of snow coming to give ski resorts a helping hand into this week.
Lingering snow continues helping the ski resorts
A low-pressure system that scooted into the B.C. coast allowed precipitation to begin sloshing over the province this weekend.
Through Sunday morning, more than 15 cm of snow had fallen on Grouse Mountain, with 12 cm measured at Mount Washington and 6 cm at Sun Peaks over the past 24 hours. More snow fell across the Interior through Sunday, and additional precipitation is on the way into Monday.
Hefty snowfall totals are a good bet for many high-elevation locations along the Coast Mountains, where freezing levels will hover around 1000 metres. While it’s good news for ski resorts, the heavy snowfall could lead to travel issues through the mountain passes on Sunday.
Snowfall across the Interior could make for difficult travel across major routes like the Trans-Canada Highway, with snow-covered roads hampering travel into and out of Alberta, as well.
After the snowfall moves out by Monday evening, the pattern is going to be a dry one across the province for the remainder of the week. The exception will be light upslope snow continuing across the Rocky Mountains on Tuesday.
That means there will be some stunning ski conditions Tuesday across all of B.C.’s ski resorts after more than 20 cm of fresh snowfall has graced lots of the locations.
Mountains will be able to continually make snowfall as temperatures are trending below seasonal in the long-range later this week.
We’ll watch for a return to some disturbances by next weekend, bringing more high-elevation snowfall.
More snow is good news for higher elevations
The North Shore Mountains are in desperate need of ample snow this season. Whistler is right there with them, where snowfall totals are running below-seasonal for the middle of February.
Most regions across the province were running snowfall deficits by Feb. 1.
Conditions are worst across Vancouver Island, the South Coast, and the Lower Fraser, where repeated intrusions of warm air and moisture from atmospheric rivers have taken a serious toll on the region’s snowpack.
The Interior has been able to keep most of their snowpack this season thanks to a relative lack of warm air and rain across the region. The Okanagan and Upper Fraser East reported the best numbers in the province, with more than 85 percent of their seasonal snowpack to start the month. They’ll be happy to pad their totals after the latest round of snow.
According to the B.C. River Forecast Centre, two-thirds of the province’s snowpack usually falls by the beginning of February. If history is any guide, that means we’ve got about one-third of the season left to make up for the lack of snowfall.
Despite El Niño making a significant dent in the province’s seasonal snowfall totals, it’s possible to find a silver lining amid the deficits. The lower-than-normal snowpack could mean a lower risk of freshet flooding come the springtime, a welcome bit of relief after several volatile seasons influenced by La Niña.
Stay with The Weather Network for all the latest on your forecast across British Columbia.