An Arctic Outflow Event in October?

Well this is a thing… it’s been quite awhile since we’ve seen snow before Halloween but we have a possibility of at least flakes in the sky and at worst a messy Tuesday and Wednesday morning.

A low will strengthen as it moves down the Island tonight and tomorrow and it will carry strong easterly outflow winds and the possibility of snow along with it.

Check out the image below to see those winds pulling cold air right out Howe Sound, the Fraser Valley and Alberni Inlet.

A chart showing pressure and temperature.
8AM-11AM Tuesday picture of surface pressure, winds and low-atmosphere temperatures shows the low off of Washington State with strong Easterly and NorthEasterly winds pulling cold air across Vancouver Island.

That band of white extending out from Barkley Sound is cold upper-level air. Environment Canada expects winds up to 40kph. It will feel cold!

That should be it as far as winter weather, but there will also be the possibility of Strait effect snow on the East Island especially as these winds pick up. The Beauforts and Horne Lake will also see snow but Port Alberni itself should be mostly shielded from most precipitation except perhaps deepest Beaver Creek and Beaufort areas. If we do see precipitation in Port Alberni, it will probably be light rain showers or wet flurries.

Most likely times and places for snow – Drive Carefully!

The picture below shows rain in grey and black and snow in shades of green. This is in the 9AM-10AM hour on Tuesday morning.

A chart showing rain in greys and snow in greens.
An hour image for 9AM-10AM Tuesday shows precipitation beginning across the Island with rain in low areas and snow at higher elevations.

By this picture I would expect the possibility of wet snow falling across the East Island starting on Tuesday morning, certainly on the Alberni and Sutton Pass summits, and possibly also the Malahat.

Winds will increase and the threat of snow will continue through Tuesday for the entire East Island, especially Bowser, Mill Bay and Cowichan, and less so in Port Alberni.

It should end for most overnight Tuesday but winds continue to deliver potential snow to the Chemainus and Shawnigan Lake and possibly up into the Alberni Summit and Errington areas Wednesday morning:

A chart showing rain and snow on Wednesday morning.
Showing in the 5-6AM hour on Wednesday morning, heavier snowfall near Chemainus and Ladysmith in blue

While the snow will make the roads slippery I don’t expect the snow to accumulate on the ground, except at higher elevations.

The picture below shows snow accumulating only in the high mountain areas by Wednesday night but this could certainly include some snowfall highway passes of Sutton Pass, Alberni Summit and Malahat.

A chart showing areas of snow accumulation on Vancouver Island
The 8PM Wednesday picture for snow depths on the Island. Mostly confined to higher elevations on the inland parts of the Island except for some low level snow near Ladysmith, Chemainus and Mill Bay.

Stay safe out there!

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