Bitter cold, snow in the West

Snow falls in Vancouver, BC, 15 January 2020 (Vancouver PD/Twitter)

Extremely cold Arctic air has enveloped Western Canada.

Temperatures have dropped into the -30s Celsius with bitter wind chills in the -40s on the Prairies and near -50 in the northern territories.

Even the normally mild Pacific coast has not escaped a so-called Arctic outflow.

About 15 to 20 cm snow fell in Vancouver and Victoria.

Schools closed, traffic was snarled and public transit buses got stuck in a region ill-equipped to handle wintry weather.

White Christmas

Light snow falls on Boxing Day, Truro, NS, 26 Dec 2019 (Dearing)

Despite a relatively snow-free December, Greater Moncton still managed to have a White Christmas this year after all – but just barely.

Environment Canada reports 2 cm of snow on the ground at the airport Christmas morning which fits its official definition.

Other parts of southern New Brunswick and Nova Scotia did not have snow including in Truro where I spent the holiday.

Meteorologists say odds of a White Christmas have decreased in recent years.

Here are the odds for select Canadian cities (1994-2017 versus 1955-2017):

  • Moncton – 65% / 73%
  • Fredericton – 50% / 76%
  • Saint John – 45% / 60%
  • Charlottetown – 55% / 78%
  • Halifax – 40% / 54%
  • Montreal – 70% / 76%
  • Toronto – 45% / 52%
  • Winnipeg – 100% / 98%
  • Calgary – 60% / 59%
  • Vancouver – 10% / 10%

Coastal B.C. gets winter wallop

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Victoria, BC, 12 Feb 2019 (Royal BC Museum Inner Harbour Webcam)

Wintry weather doesn’t visit the coast of British Columbia very often but it certainly causes disruption when it arrives.

Following back to back snow days, Vancouver has picked up almost 25 cm of snow with higher amounts in the Fraser Valley and Victoria has recorded more than 40 cm.

An Arctic outflow pushing temperatures below freezing combined with low pressure off Vancouver Island is creating snowy rather than more typical rainy conditions.

Traffic and transit services were snarled, schools were cancelled and scattered power outages kept crews busy in the region.

Warm July for most of Canada

July was a warm month not only in Greater Moncton and New Brunswick but also throughout most of Canada – except for the Far North.

Montreal shattered its monthly record with a mean temperature of 24.1 C – three degrees above normal – and sadly dozens died from not having air conditioning.

Halifax and Toronto were both almost two degrees above normal while Vancouver and Calgary were each more than one degree higher than average.

Even normally cool St. John’s, Newfoundland was 1.6 degrees warmer in July with 15 days reaching daytime highs of 25 C or more.

Only in the Arctic were temperatures lower with Iqaluit, Nunavut nearly one degree below average and Resolute was off by 2.5 degrees – its coldest July since 1964.

White Christmas across Canada

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Barely white on Christmas morning in Truro, NS, 25 December 2017 (Dearing)

Technically in Truro, Nova Scotia, it wasn’t a White Christmas with snow falling later in the morning which changed to freezing rain, ice pellets and eventually rain.

But by late afternoon, winds gusted to almost 100 km/h which knocked down trees and power lines leaving thousands in the dark on Christmas Day.

In Greater Moncton, snow and blowing snow were factors on December 25 with about 20 cm accumulating – the heaviest snowfall so far this season.

Across Canada, Vancouver had a trace of white for Christmas while Victoria had 3 cm of snow.

Calgary is still digging out from a 30 cm snowfall a few days ago, Winnipeg had its coldest Christmas in 20 years plunging to -30 C and Toronto picked up 10 cm during the day.

West coast goes white

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Kitsilano neighbourhood,Vancouver, BC, 19 Dec 2017 (Twitter)

It doesn’t snow in Vancouver very often but when it does panic typically ensues on streets and sidewalks.

About 7 cm fell at Vancouver International Airport yesterday with higher amounts reported to the north and east.

Snow also fell on Vancouver Island with only 3 cm in Victoria but at least 20 cm in Nanaimo.

Parts of the British Columbia interior picked up more than 30 cm.

Early snow along BC South Coast

The first Arctic front of the season has moved across British Columbia bringing a blast of cold air, strong winds and the first snowfall to the south coast including most of Vancouver Island.

Victoria received 7 cm of snow which was the earliest appearance since 1991.

Significant snow fell in the BC interior with 19 cm in Kelowna and 34 cm in Cranbrook.

The same storm system also has Southern Alberta digging out with Calgary getting 14 cm and Lethbridge picking up a whopping 39 cm of snow.

Cherry blossoms brighten B.C. coast

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Cherry blossoms in Vancouver,BC,15 April 2017 (CityofVancouver/Twitter)

Canada’s so-called Left Coast may have the mildest winters in the country but along with that comes a lot of cloudy skies and precipitation mostly falling as rain.

After a colder and snowier than usual winter, Vancouver experienced a gloomy March with the least amount of sunshine since records began in 1951 and it rained 28 out of 31 days.

So it’s no wonder, the sight of beautiful pink and white cherry blossoms is causing traffic troubles with so many drivers and pedestrians stopping to admire them.

The peak bloom is a bit later than normal this year thanks to dismal weather causing the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival to reschedule some events.

First snow in Vancouver since 2014

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A snowy downtown Vancouver, BC, 05 Dec 2016 (Instagram)


Between 5 and 10 centimetres of snow fell on Greater Vancouver during the morning commute today which created havoc on highways and bridges.

Vancouverites haven’t seen snow for at least 1,000 days when the last significant amount was recorded at the airport on 24 February, 2014.

An Arctic air mass is to blame for the snow and cold with Environment Canada showing temperatures barely climbing above freezing this week.

A weather statement has been issued indicating more snow could fall in Vancouver on Thursday.

Trio of storms hit B.C.’s south coast

Three storms in quick succession have battered the south coast of British Columbia delivering more than 200 mm of rain in some areas.

Strong winds gusting up to 100 km/h caused up to 300,000 power outages at one point and brought down at least 250 trees in Vancouver.

The series of storms were from the remnants of Super Typhoon Songda.