UPDATED 8:45AM —- Hour by Hour Sunday/Monday snow post! Port Alberni mostly rain – East Coast Snow

Update 8:45AM — Cowichan and Courtenay still expect snow through Monday.  Nanaimo late.

The morning model still expects pockets of snow to develop by 10AM this morning and lasting most of the day in the Lake Cowichan area as far north as Ladysmith and in the Courtenay area.

Map Key
Map Key


In the evening the focus might shift more toward Nanaimo and maybe Parksville while the other regions taper off.



Mostly slushy conditions between Port Alberni and Nanaimo. No real snow on the road on my drive in to VIU.  The most snow was in Nanoose and in south Nanaimo.  We’ll see how things go later this morning if winds pick up from the East.  There were also some flakes falling in Whiskey Creek and Little Qualicum Falls. Likely the coldest spot… but no real umphf to back it up.  Stay alert and stay safe on the roads.  Conditions can change and it is supposed to get much colder tomorrow especially so watch for ice.

If you’re thinking this cold weather must be a sign global warming isn’t happening (I know my readers here are much smarter than that!) don’t forget that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

North America is being flooded with colder than normal Arctic air… and warmer than normal air from the North Pacific (which would normally head our way) is flooding into the Arctic.

Santa will need shorts and a T-Shirt.

Update 6AM

Nothing in town but the rest of the Island is getting a good bit of snow.  This is just the start. Snowfall warning for East Coast. Radar is almost exactly as forecast for this time from last nights model.

img_9678 img_9679

Update 9:45PM — Mostly the same forecast, just starting a little later.

Here is a map key with locations (click for larger).

Map Key
Map Key

Here are the totals for the day.  The Courtenay area and north Nanaimo look to be the big winners!

snow scale




Snow to begin around 1AM in Port Alberni lasting to around 4AM.



Looks like about 2 inches or 5cm maximum in Port Alberni.  That is all.

It is a very different story on the East Coast.

Snow is expected to start around 5AM and it will be off an on all day in patches along the coast.

5AM-6AM we see the heaviest Island snow in the Duncan, Mill Bay, Lake Cowichan and Malahat area and some in Courtenay.


By 6AM the snow starts to move north with it starting in Nanaimo.


The mid morning hours will be focused in Nanaimo.

The afternoon should see Nanaimo taper off but then Courtenay and Buckley Bay start to get the heaviest snow fall of the day.




Alright here we go!  The morning models are coming out so it’s time to figure out where the snow will and won’t fall.

Totals for Monday

Here are the totals up to 4AM on Monday on the high resolution map.  Greens like Port Alberni, are below 2 inches (5cm).  Blues are in the 3-4in/5-10cm range.


Notice there is not too much on the East side at this time… the winds will shift in the morning and deliver this between 4PM Sunday and, mostly Monday, 4PM Monday:


Heaviest accumulations (in purple) look to be Lantzville and Mill Bay/Malahat.

Also heavy in Nanaimo, and Buckley Bay/Denman/Hornby.

Hour by Hour:

First snowfall in Port Alberni is forecast for between 10PM-11PM.  The map shows about 0.5in in an hour.


The snow tapers off (and likely turns to rain) from 11PM-12AM


A little more falls in the 2AM-3AM hour.  Also notice the winds shifting to the east in the Fraser Valley and snow starting in Vancouver and across the Strait in Cowichan and Nanaimo.  Also look at Victoria getting over 1in (2.5cm) in the hour.


Things get really interesting after that… here is the hour by hour series, watch the winds swing to the East across the Strait and push snow onto the East Island.

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This is a pretty clear “Strait Effect” situation and this pattern continues through the afternoon and evening delivering the most snow to North Nanaimo, Malahat and Buckley Bay.

Port Alberni is unlikely to see much, if any, through the day on Monday.

Good luck and drive safe out there!  I will update this further tonight after the Sail Past at Harbour Quay!


UPDATED 1PM Saturday —- Late Sunday Snow into Monday morning and evening

Update 1PM Saturday

The morning high resolution models are finished and the forecast has refined a bit.  Port Alberni will probably only get snow late Sunday night around midnight.  After that, most of the chance focuses on the east side and will depend on the outflow winds picking up snow along the Strait and dumping it on the east side.  That means it will be difficult to know exactly where the most snow falls.

Here is the 3hour snowfall imagery starting at between 10PM to 1AM.

Snow begins on the west side with up to one 1inch in Port Alberni and maybe a little more at Sproat Lake.
Snow begins with up to one 1inch in Port Alberni and maybe a little more at Sproat Lake.

Notice the heavier snow near Courtenay due to winds up to Strait and likely cooler air leading to more moisture and snow.

The winds then shift to the East outflow and the East side of the Island gets hit betweem 1AM-4AM.


Accumulations will be variable.  There may be places where it only rains, and there be others where they get 3inches (10cm) of snow.

The threat of snow ends by sunrise.

Winds then pick up again in the evening bringing more pockets of snow to the East Island particularly Courtenay and maybe Nanaimo and Whiskey Creek.




UPDATE 1PM FRIDAY — Sunday Rain/Snow Mix Details

The Friday morning model run faded the Sunday morning snow so expecting mostly rain, however the high res now extends to the afternoon on Sunday, here is a rain/snow mix map.

Greys/blacks are rain, colours are snow:

The system sweeps onto the West Coast in the afternoon with possible low level snow for Tofino and drizzle starting in Port Alberni.
The system sweeps onto the West Coast in the afternoon with possible low level snow for Tofino and drizzle starting in Port Alberni.
Rain turns to snow in the 4-7PM hours of Sunday in the Port Alberni area.
Rain turns to snow in the 4-7PM hours of Sunday in the Port Alberni area.
Now more snow than rain in the 10PM - 1AM hours in Port Alberni but snow at higher elevation.
Now more snow than rain in the 7PM – 10PM hours in Port Alberni but snow at higher elevation.
Switching back to snow in the 1-4AM with rain beginning on the East coast.
Switching back to snow in the 10-1AM with rain beginning on the East coast.
Mix continuing 1-4AM Monday though notice the heavy snow on the West Coast high elevations. This is as far as the high resolution forecast goes.
Mix continuing 1-4AM Monday though notice the heavy snow on the West Coast high elevations.
This is as far as the high resolution forecast goes.
The greatest chance for the heavies snow is in the 4-7AM hours of Monday morning. Not good for the commute!
The greatest chance for the heavies snow is in the 4-7AM hours of Monday morning. Not good for the commute!

Will it be Sunday? Monday? Wednesday? Thursday?  This post will update so check back.

We might have a winner for the snow contest soon…

The forecast has an aweful lot of mentions of either flurries or snow right now.  I think we can officially get excited (or not :)) that we could see our first lowland snowfall of the year within the next 7 days!

Todays rain should end by the afternoon and we might even get some sunny breaks late in the afternoon or on Saturday.  Then it gets interesting:

Here are the predictions:

Sunday Morning

The first chance of low land snow occurs early Sunday morning (1-4AM). Some heavier precipitation will track north from Nanaimo to Parksville and the high resolution model predicts snowfall in the Nanoose Bay and Lantzville area. The green areas are 1-2inches or under 5cm. So not much, but enough to cause traffic headaches.

snow scale


This is as far into the future as the high resolution model goes right now. I will update this post later today when the next model run is complete and we get most of Sunday in high res.

The forecast says it will warm enough on Sunday that there will not be any more chance of snow during the day.  We will see if that prediction holds.

Sunday Night/Monday morning – Heavy high elevation or Valley snow, sleet at sea level.

Things get real late Sunday, snow or sleet is expected to begin at sea level on the West Coast around midnight… it should begin to snow out Sproat Lake toward 1AM

Here is the 11PM-1AM picture:

snow scale


It then spreads inland in the 1-4AM hours of Monday morning with Sproat Lake, Lake Cowichan and Bowser getting most hit. snow scaleimg_9651

You can see the edges near sea level stay in the green which likely means most of this will fall as sleet or wet snow and may not stick on the ground.  It will depend just how cold it is and how heavy the rainfall is, the heavier it is, the more likely it will change over to snow.

Monday East Coast Outflow Mess

The chance of snow in Port Alberni is supposed to quickly fade early Monday but not so much on the East and South Island.

Strong outflow winds from the Fraser Valley might cause a big snow event. Look at the horizontal, East pointing, barbs in the white area on the right of the first image below.



7-11AM the easterly winds on Georgia Strait intensify and deliver snow to Nanaimo.


11AM-1PM the winds start to calm.


These are low resolution 12km forecasts so I will update this section later this morning when we should get the 4km version of these maps and I will update again on Sunday when the high res 1.3km maps are in.

Long Range Wednesday Cold and Snow then Warming Thursday.

It is going to get cold on Tuesday possibly down to -5°C.

img_9658temp scale

That will set up a similar but perhaps stronger pattern of West Coast, and then strong outflow East Coast snow is currently in the picture for Wednesday.  This is likely to change, but it is worth planning for. Areas south of Ladysmith and north of QUalicum seem particularly strongly hit with accumulations up to 8 inches or 20cm possible.

snow scale


PHEW! That’s a big forecast and there is going to be lots more to come as the new model runs come out.  I will try to update the post until at least Sunday morning so we get a good idea of what to expect on Sunday night and Monday.

I am also working on the November Summary!  Never a dull moment!

Happy Friday!

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