Strait Effect Snow Thursday night into Christmas Eve Day – Then Cold, and Snow.

Thursday and Christmas Eve Snow Potential

We may be looking at one of our best forecasts for near-Christmas snow in a long time. It starts Thursday as things cool down again after our warm, windy and rainy Wednesday that managed to melt most of the snow still lingering from the weekend. We have a little high-elevation snow up to 4PM Thursday.

Friday Low moves down coast, spins possible heavy strait effect snow onto East Coast

Things change Thursday night as a low approaches from the north. On Friday morning we have a good setup for “Strait Effect” snow as a low moves down the West side of the Island resulting in strong easterly winds out of the mainland Inlets which could dump snow onto Courtenay, Parksville, Nanaimo and Duncan. Below is the low moving down starting in the 1-3AM period and ending off Juan de Fuca strait in the 7-10AM period when it is likely to be pulling moisture across the strait and onto the Island.

Winds pointed directly at the East side in the last two pictures. Here’s how that translates into snow from the 1-4AM period all the way to 7-10PM on Friday, especially focused on Courtenay, Nanaimo, and Duncan. Port Alberni and Victoria will get noticeably less in this go around with Port Alberni getting it towards the start and Victoria towards the end respectively.

Green is light snow and blue heavier. Watch the progression through the images below.

24hr totals between 4PM Thursday and 4PM Friday look like this:

  • Port Alberni: 2-5cm
  • West Coast: 2-5cm (except much more on Highway 4)
  • Courtenay/Bowser: up to 30cm
  • Parksville/North Nanaimo: 5-10cm
  • South Nanaimo/Ladysmith/Cowichan: 15-20cm
  • Victoria: 0-2cm (except the Malahat? beware)

The vast majority of the Island will be white, and stay that way into Christmas Eve.

Very Cold Christmas Morning – Snow possible late

We should hopefully wake up to snow on the ground if not falling from the sky on Christmas morning, but you’ll want to warm blanket because it will be cold, as low as -6ºC in Port Alberni and Cowichan with a windchill that might make it feel colder than that on the East coast.

It won’t warm up past freezing on Saturday but we might see some snow start up again on the east side in the 4-7PM hour but ending quickly.

Christmas will be the beginning of a very cold and snowy week between then and New Years with what look to be near record cold temperatures to end the year.

Merry Christmas and please stay safe.

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to update again before Christmas so I will take this opportunity to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, a Happy and Safe Holiday. With Omicron disrupting our lives and limiting what we can do in an effort to protect our friends, loved ones and community, I hope all of you can find a safe and restful place to spend these coming days and weeks.



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