This morning’s brief window of flurries at higher elevations in Greater Victoria may have been a teaser for more snow next week.
According to Environment Canada regional meteorologist, Armel Castellan, Vancouver Island could receive a major snowfall with possible accumulation next week, starting Sunday December 1st.
Castellan clarifies that the weather authority’s statement to Victoria Buzz last week which predicted there would be zero chance of snowfall at lower elevations in Greater Victoria this week was in reference to the fact that there would be no major snow events.
“Generally speaking we were not dealing with a big scale snow event. This in particular may have dropped half a centimetre or a centimetre [of snow] on the Malahat, and it lasted maybe half an hour before melting off pretty quickly,” he says.
“In a way, the statement kind of still holds true, that the bigger synoptic-scale or large scale weather events are on hold right now until Sunday at the earliest.”
For now, BC’s south coast is experiencing anomalously cold weather as an Arctic ridge of high pressure intensifies over the province’s interior, bringing colder air and heavy winds to the coast by Wednesday.
The capital city can expect cold, windy, yet sunny weather up until Saturday.
However as the south coast gets engulfed by Arctic air on Sunday, this leads to the probability of a larger snowfall than what Greater Victoria experienced today.
“This time of year is a good reminder to have winter tires and emergency blankets and boots in your car so you’re not caught unprepared,” says Castellan.
Conclusive statements and predictions
Castellan clarifies that it is difficult to make conclusive statements when talking about the weather, particularly when it comes to predicting precipitation.
“We look at the situation as it evolves, and often we deal in a fairly short term so it’s hard to know with certainty that we have something to hang our hat on and call it a slam dunk forecast,” he said.
“I think the [original] statement was probably related to a big Pacific storm that would give us many centimetres of snow all the way down to sea level. That, I think, remains true.”
However, he does state with absolute certainty that Victoria will experience colder than normal temperatures this coming week.
Weather records taken at the Victoria International Airport show that the earliest snowfall in recent history was on October 28th, 1991.
And when it comes to predicting whether or not the city will have a white Christmas this year, the data is even less definitive.
Environment Canada defines a perfect “white Christmas” as one with accumulation on the ground plus snowfall at the same time on December 25th. The last time Victoria had snowfall on Christmas was just two years ago in 2017.
Environment Canada will be releasing their seasonal forecast for December, January, and February on the last day of November.