SnowyBuffalo

Alert: “brief blizzard-like conditions” possible East Vancouver Island Overnight

Update 8:45PM – Unconfirmed reports – The Hump is closed.  Working to confirm.

Update 8:30PM –  Teresa Pavin is the winner of the snow contest!

The unexpected, and heavy snowfall continues.  Remember that even the best model said it wasn’t going to start until at least 10PM, and it was only supposed to happen on South Vancouver Island.  This is quite a dramatic departure from those forecasts.

And the crazy thing is, the current forecast that was just released in the past hour still has the snow only on the South Island.

wa_snow1.06.0000
The forecast model has still completely missed the more northerly snow band that is now affecting us in Port Alberni.
You can see the lines of "strait effect" snow coming down from the mainland inlet and lining up with us from Texada Island (anyone know what that Inlet is called? and one from Howe Sound to the south island
You can see the lines of “strait effect” snow coming down from the mainland inlet and lining up with us from Texada Island (anyone know what that Inlet is called? and one from Howe Sound to the south island

Update 7:15PM – WE HAVE A SNOW CONTEST WINNER!

Teresa Pavin! She guessed 1:30PM

And a very honourable mention to Astrid Braunschmidt who used her super meteorologist powers to predict exactly the right time, but she didn’t get her guess in before the closed! ;)

It is beautiful at Harbour Quay!

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Update 4:35PM:

It has started quite early.

Light snow, likely not sticking, on the radar and being reported all over the South Island including Port Alberni.

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Update: 3:25PM – Possible snow for Port Alberni – One model says so.

Scott Sistek of KOMO news in Seattle just tweeted this photo:

On the left, the model I use (UWash) doesn't show snow accumulation for Alberni - On the right though, the EURO model from Weather Bell (a pay service) shows 1" of snow by morning in the Alberni Valley.  So heads up.  The possibility is there.
On the left, the model I use (UWash) doesn’t show snow accumulation for Alberni – On the right though, the EURO model from Weather Bell (a pay service) shows 1″ of snow by morning in the Alberni Valley. So heads up. The possibility is there.

Update: 3:15PM – This post will be updated as needed.

Snow is still unlikely for the Port Alberni area.  However, on the East Coast, EC is now predicting possible snowfall “similar to lake effect” and “brief blizzard-like” conditions overnight at times.   That’s right folks, for a select few of you, it’s like our own mini-version of Buffalo snow.

Read it yourself!

First light snow over the South Coast…

A ridge of high pressure building over the BC Interior is forcing Arctic air south through the Fraser Canyon and west through the mainland inlets and valleys along the coast. The leading edge of the cold, dense outflowing air – the Arctic front – will cause wind speeds to increase as the air temperature decreases.

A small influx of moisture with the Arctic air will create light, fluffy, very low-density snow. As the ground freezes and the wind persists, the accumulating snow will reduce visibility in blowing snow.

The Arctic air will absorb moisture from the sea as it crosses the Strait of Georgia. When the modified Arctic air moves onshore along the East Coast of Vancouver Island, local snow streamers – similar to lake effect snow – may develop. Snowfall accumulations will vary significantly over small distances, ranging from a trace to 5 to 10 centimetres. Rapidly variable and brief blizzard-like conditions may develop in snow-belt and blizzard prone areas of the Lower Mainland such as Sumas Prairie, the Gulf Islands, and on the East Coast of Vancouver Island.

The public is advised to monitor future forecasts and warnings as warnings may be required or extended.

Thank goodness it is happening overnight and should be done by first light!

I will update more as we go tonight and tomorrow morning.  PLEASE DRIVE CAREFULLY TOMORROW.

The faint grey areas are between 1-10cm.  There are a few spots slightly North and south of Nanaimo that may have a 2-3cm of snow on the ground Saturday.  There is one pocket of purple south of Ladysmith that is in the 10cm range, which could make for dangerous driving.

Overnight snow threat for east coast remains.

Note: webcam is offline until further notice due to renovations, current conditions only only between 5PM and 8AM.

If you are planning to go anywhere over the hump on Saturday you will want to keep an eye on the highway webcams and weather reports.  The threat of snowfall anywhere on the east side of the Island remains overnight.  The most likely place for snow right now seems to be in the Ladysmith area or just south.

The models from last night are pretty much bang on with this morning’s radar.

The model shows the front moving away toward the south east.
The model shows the front moving away toward the south east at 7AM.
The current radar picture is nearly identical.  I'd say it is maybe a few tens of kilometres delayed compared to the model, but it's hardly signficant.  Impressive.
The current (6:30AM) radar picture is nearly identical. I’d say it is maybe a few tens of kilometres delayed compared to the model, but it’s hardly signficant. Impressive.

Temperatures are dropping quickly as the front passes and the northwest winds pick up steam.  As you can see on the islandweather.ca map, it is 6°C in Victoria but 0°C in Campbell River.

You can see the front pass on the temperature map at islandweather.ca as well.  Cold coming down from the north.
You can see the front pass on the temperature map at islandweather.ca as well. Cold coming down from the north.

The question is whether the pictures below will pan out:

The flurries begin over the Strait as the wind shift to outflow from the Fraser Valley and Howe Sound around 10PM tonight.
The flurries begin over the Strait as the wind shift to outflow from the Fraser Valley and Howe Sound around 10PM tonight.
he cold air and moisture gains some strength by 1AM. These setups can be very localized. The model is putting the greatest possibility just south of Ladysmith but it will be very localized.
The cold air and moisture gains some strength by 1AM. These setups can be very localized. The model is putting the greatest possibility just south of Ladysmith but it will be very localized.
The cold air and moisture gains some strength by 1AM.  These setups can be very localized.  The model is putting the greatest possibility just south of Ladysmith but it will be very localized.
By 4AM it is starting to wind down as the atmosphere dries out. Nothing predicted to reach the Alberni Valley at all.

 

Here is the total accumulation:

 

The faint grey areas are between 1-10cm.  There are a few spots slightly North and south of Nanaimo that may have a 2-3cm of snow on the ground Saturday.  There is one pocket of purple south of Ladysmith that is in the 10cm range, which could make for dangerous driving.
The faint grey areas are between 1-10cm. There are a few spots slightly North and south of Nanaimo that may have a 2-3cm of snow on the ground Saturday. There is one pocket of purple south of Ladysmith that is in the 10cm range, which could make for dangerous driving.

Enjoy the Christmas-y weather everyone.  Please take your time on the roads if you have to go but maybe even consider if you are shopping out of town if maybe you could find something in a local business or craft fair. :) you might even get a gift from the Alberni Chamber!

Happy Final Friday of November!