(Photo by Jessica Harvey/Instagram)

Brace yourselves—Winter is officially here.

On Wednesday morning, Environment Canada issued a statement warning that an arctic overflow is in effect for Greater Victoria. 

An arctic outflow warning means there is a combination of high wind speed with cold temperatures in the coastal BC region creating uncommon temperatures of at least -20 degrees for a minimum of 6 hours. 

This occurs when arctic air breaks from the Interior Mainland and spills out to the coast through mountain gaps and fjords.

The arctic outflow warning is in effect for all of Greater Victoria and the Southern Gulf Islands, bringing temperatures of near -20 degrees when the “bitterly cold winds” are taken into account.

(Environment Canada)

“An arctic front has brought in a cold airmass to the south coast,” said Environment Canada in a statement.

“Strong outflow winds are bringing temperatures near 10 degrees below seasonal normals resulting in wind chill values approaching minus 20 over the Greater Victoria and Southern Gulf Islands regions.”

“If outside, dress warmly in layers and stay dry. Cover as much exposed skin as possible to avoid frostbite. Ensure that shelter is provided for pets and outdoor animals. Be prepared for unusually cold temperatures and strong winds.”

The severe weather over the last couple days has caused pandemonium at the Victoria International Airport (YYJ), causing numerous flight cancellations and delays of up around 3 hours on average.

BC Ferries cancelled all morning and early afternoon sailings between many of their terminals including Swartz Bay and Tsawwessen on Tuesday. 

As of Wednesday morning, BC Ferries hasn’t had to cancel any sailings but is dealing with some staffing shortages that have affected their departure times.

BC Transit cancelled all service to all of Greater Victoria and that service suspension has bled into Wednesday morning. BC Transit says they will begin trial runs today to see if the buses can make it in the snow.

“We are deploying some buses this morning as trials to test the road conditions. These buses will be deployed on a couple routes downtown and some that use the major thoroughfares,” said Tessa Humphries, BC Transit’s communications manager.

Road conditions in Victoria continue to be dangerous due to heavy snow and icy conditions. Highways look to be mostly clear and Victorians can find a summarized list with updated images of highway conditions via Victoria Buzz’s current road conditions article.

This weather warning is in effect until Thursday morning.



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