The long-range Winter forecast from several weather agencies predicts a colder than normal winter for B.C. Most of the province will be drier than normal, but in southwest B.C. the cold winds, colder ocean temperatures and the normal moisture from the ocean will likely lead to lots of snow. Photograph by: Les Bazso, PNG File Photo
B.C. in for a colder, drier winter — but with plenty of snow in the southwest
By Elaine O’Connor
Don’t expect to feel superior to your family out east this year: winter in B.C. is going to be a bear.
This winter is expected to be one of the coldest in years and extra snowy in the Lower Mainland, according to US-based weather service AccuWeather.
Meteorologist Brett Anderson of AccuWeather predicts “this winter could be one of the top three coldest winters in the past 20 years for Vancouver and Victoria.”
Anderson expected temperatures about -1 to -2 degrees below normal in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, and from -2 to -4 degrees colder in the rest of B.C.
But there may be less snow in most parts of B.C. with a forecast of 40 per cent below normal along most of B.C.’s coast.
In southwestern B.C., colder temperatures plus rainy weather could bring normal or even above average snowfall, Anderson said.
Snow road crews and emergency shelters are ramping up.
Township of Langley roads and drainage manager Terry Veer said he’s been preparing his crew of 50 staff to clear more than 400 kilometres of priority roadways.
“I wouldn’t say we plan for the worst, we plan for as much as we are capable of,” he said. “If it’s really bad, we’re going to struggle.”
TransLink’s Drew Snider said the transit service was alert to possible freezing on overhead trolley wires, and had already deployed de-icing spray trucks a half-dozen times.
Snider said the service also planned to run de-icing trains overnight on SkyTrain as needed.
“Some things you can’t prevent and the only thing you can do is mitigate what snow can do to the systems,” Snider said.
At the Gateway of Hope shelter in Langley city, Major James Hagglund said their emergency shelter system, which goes into effect when the weather dips below -2, has already opened at least three times so far this season.
The average is about 35 nights over the course of the winter, but this unusually cold winter could mean even more openings.
“The message we are getting out to the community is we don’t want anyone out in the cold during inclement weather,” he said.
On the plus side, AccuWeather’s forecast of colder, drier weather in the central interior means that what snow does fall should last longer and be more powdery.
“Any snow is good snow,” said Jordan Petrovics of Kicking Horse Resort in Golden. “People are stoked for this winter season.”
Tourism Sun Peaks president Christopher Nicolson said he’s learned not to count on forecasts.
“People in the industry know that if there is one thing you can predict it’s that you can’t predict the weather,” Nicolson said.
SO LONG, SLUSH
Environment Canada’s John McIntyre also said the La Nina weather pattern will result in cooler, drier conditions.
“We’re working on a very dry December and it’s usually the second wettest month behind November,” he said.
November in Vancouver averages 181 millimetres of precipitation but this year there was only 125 mm. December normally averages 176 mm. The driest the December ever saw 53.6 mm in 1985. Normal December temperatures are a high of 6.8 degrees Celsius and a low of 0.8. The coldest-ever December day was Dec. 29, 1968 at -17.8 degrees.